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888 Holdings shares rise sharply on William Hill bid approach

Charming Thought (left) beats Ivawood Image copyright Getty Images

Online gambling group 888 Holdings has confirmed that bookmaker William Hill has made an approach to buy the firm.

Shares in 888 rose more 20% following the announcement of the offer, which values the company at about £750m.

"The board of the company confirms that it received an approach regarding a possible offer for the company by William Hill," 888 said.

The Times, which first reported the bid, said one of 888's big investors was holding out for a higher offer.

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The report said William Hill, the UK's largest bookmaker, had reached a preliminary agreement with the 888 board over a 210p a share offer, as it seeks to further expand its online gambling operations.

888 Holdings shares had risen to around to 175p per share by Tuesday afternoon.

William Hill shares fell more than 4% to around 373p.

In a statement, the board of 888 Holdings said "there can be no certainty... that any firm offer will be made," by William Hill, but that 888 would make a further announcement within 28 days.

The Times report, citing industry sources, said talks could yet fail. One of 888's Israeli founders, thought to be the Shaked family, wants 300p a share, it said.

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