Labrokes unable to agree 888 takeover

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The Independent Online

Ladbrokes has admitted that talks over a possible takeover of its online rival 888 have ended after the two companies failed to agree a price.

The pair announced they were in discussions in December, amid reports that Ladbrokes could offer as much as £240m for its rival in a move that would have boosted its online offer, which was lagging those of its peers. But it is believed the companies could not agree on a price for 888, which is advertised by former Australian cricket star Shane Warne, despite months of haggling.

Ladbrokes' chief executive Richard Glynn said: "At the end of the day, I simply decided it was not in the interests of shareholders."

The company will continue to look at opportunities for takeovers but Mr Glynn said he was under no pressure to strike any deals.

Ladbrokes, the world's largest betting shop chain, also said that its net revenues, excluding high-roller customers, rose 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, with stronger results recently following "some great football results".Online revenues rose by 1.2 per cent as some strong growth in casinos and bingo was offset by a 33 per cent decline in the income from poker. Bets through mobile phone applications grew by 250 per cent.