Punters gambling on a takeover of Betfair were given some hope after a put-up-or-shut-up deadline imposed on private equity firm CVC was extended for a day – at Betfair's request.
The gambling group had adamantly rejected CVC's initial approach of just over £900m, or 880p a share, which came with multiple conditions including CVC being granted access to Betfair's books, obtaining a board recommendation and being able to secure financing.
But despite giving out a clear message it was not interested in a deal, Betfair last night gave CVC extra time to come up with a better offer. CVC now has a further day, suggesting it is close to tabling something more to the board's liking.
Betfair's recent trading statement was ahead of the City's expectations, making the job of the bidder – which is working with large shareholders – harder.
Its shares closed at 895p yesterday, but the company has struggled to live up to the lofty valuation it enjoyed when it debuted on the markets at £13 a share. Its new chief executive Breon Corcoran has pulled out of markets where Betfair faces regulatory problems and cut costs.