888 rejects tie-up with Rank after duo rebuffed in betting merger battleComments Off on 888 rejects tie-up with Rank after duo rebuffed in betting merger battle
THE boss of online gambling firm 888 today ruled out a merger with Mecca bingo owner Rank, its bidding partner for a failed £3.1 billion tilt at troubled bookie William Hill.
Rank and 888 walked away earlier this month after Hills refused talks. 888, whose shares jumped 3%, or 7.4p, to 222.4p after impressive results, is still in the market for a deal, but not with Rank.
Chief executive Itai Frieberger said: “If there is an opportunity out there in the market we will go for it… but it is not mandatory.” He added: “The plan was to have a three-way merger with Rank and William Hill. Merging independently with Rank is something which is not part of our plan.”
888, whose high-tech marketing expertise makes it an attractive bid partner, cheered strong growth in casino and sports betting, which lifted revenues 19% to $262 million (£199 million) in the first half of the year.