William Hill in Sportingbet bid

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The Independent Online

The betting giant William Hill and its partner GVC holdings have unveiled a £485m takeover of the online gambling company Sportingbet.

The recommended cash and shares offer values Sportingbet shares at 56.1p each, comprising 44.8p in cash from William Hill, a 1.1p dividend from Sportingbet and the rest in GVC paper. This is in line with a provisional deal hammered out earlier this month.

The announcement followed three months of negotiations as the companies fleshed out a price, decided on a new management structure and eased the concerns of regulators, particularly in Australia.

The deal allows William Hill to expand overseas from the UK, where it is the country's largest bookmaker. Its main prize is Sportingbet's Australian business and it will also take on its Spanish unit. GVC will acquire businesses in countries where regulation is less clear cut.

"We look forward to working with the management and employees of Sportingbet in Australia and Spain to combine our joint experience and expertise to create additional value for our customers and shareholders," William Hill's chief executive Ralph Topping said.