Tuesday October 2, 2012  : SPORTINGBET CONFIRMS REJECTION OF WILL HILL-GVC OFFER (Update)
 
"This indicative offer significantly undervalues the business and its future prospects."
 
Sportingbet plc confirmed Monday that it has received an indicative offer from William Hill and GVC of 52.5 pence comprising of 45 pence in cash from William Hill and 7.5 pence in shares in GVC.
 
The Board of Sportingbet has responded that this indicative offer significantly undervalues the business and its future prospects.
 
A statement from the online gambling group noted the intense speculation on an acquisition offer. The Reuters news agency reported that the door was still open for William Hill and GVC to come forward with a better bid, and industry analysts predicted that a better offer would be made.
 
"We believe Sportingbet is worth over 60 pence per share, excluding any bid speculation, and expect Wednesday's full year results to show the business continues to make strong underlying progress," said Panmure Gordon analysts.
 
Sportingbet is widely expected to report pre-tax profits of around GBP 30 million on sales of GBP 200 million on Wednesday.
 
Sportingbet has seen its European operations struggle with the economic downturn and a changing regulatory map, but has a strong core Australian business that is attractive to traditional bookmaker William Hill as it expands overseas.
 
Numis said shareholders should hold out for 90 pence per share, citing the business growth potential and saying it was a chance for the bidder to snap up a bargain while trading was at a low point.
 
Shares have risen from a low of 26 pence in May to 44 pence just before the approach was announced last month, and have been trading at around the offer level since then.
 
The bidders have until October 16 to make a firm bid or walk away under UK takeover rules, although this deadline can be extended.