Don’t bet on it: William Hill takeover plan ‘complicated’

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WILLIAM Hill has rejected a claim by joint venture partner Playtech that it should share in the benefits of a planned takeover of online gambling group Sportingbet.

The intervention by software firm Playtech has complicated a deal seen as pivotal in the overseas expansion of William Hill, Britain’s largest bookmaker.

The firm is spending £454 million to acquire Sportingbet’s Australian operations and an option to buy its business in Spain.

Playtech – not part of the deal – said the businesses involved would have to be offered within six months to the William Hill Online joint venture in which it has a 29 per cent stake.

William Hill has started moves to take full control of its venture with Playtech which itself said the Sportingbet deal should boost the value of its stake. Analysts had previously said the holding could be worth up to £400m.

A William Hill spokesman said: “Playtech have no rights to a business that is not part of William Hill Online and therefore this has absolutely no effect on any valuation”.