Hill flotation

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The Independent Online
BRENT WALKER, the heavily indebted leisure group, has invited four merchant banks to pitch for the flotation of William Hill, the group's betting shop chain.

Hill Samuel, County NatWest, Robert Fleming and Kleinwort Benson are understood to have been asked to make presentations this Thursday. These will include estimates of the possible price that could be obtained by floating William Hill. The move comes after a consortium led by SG Warburg bid pounds 360m for the chain. Brent Walker has started talks with the consortium, which includes Electra Investment Trust, Mercury Asset Management and Midland Montagu, but is pressing for a higher price.

Sir Keith Bright, Brent's recently appointed chairman, believes the betting shop chain could be worth as much as pounds 500m, compared with the pounds 685m that Brent Walker paid four years ago.