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Over £700m?

Not on your nelly!

That seems to be the position of brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked after William Hill placed that valuation on 888 Holdings – the company the brothers own a 50% stake in.

The deal is off.

Unless something significant changes, William Hill will not be acquiring 888 Holdings.

News that Hills were looking to acquire their competitor emerged six days ago. Press speculation was rife that Hills were preparing to make a bid. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) were after an explanation. 888 Holdings provided one.

Hills had made a bid of 200 pence per share including three pence dividend for the company. All-in-all that turned out to be a price tag in excess of £700m. 888 stock jumped more than 25% before closing up over 18% at 171.5p, and Hills shares fell 3% to 377.4p.

The company promised to update everyone within 28 days.

It’s happened a lot sooner.

Information is scarce. The only snippets of gossip state that the Shaked family is looking for 300p per share. For the time being Hills are keeping their powder dry on that one.

London-based PR firm Hudson Sandler, one of the most respected strategic business critical communication consultancies, and partners of 888 Holdings, announced that negotiations between the pair had ended without agreement.

It’s easy to see why Hills is so attracted to the glint in 888’s eye. The online poker vertical has weathered the Black Friday storm better than most, and they are the only operator to have a foothold in all three states that are currently offering a fully regulated, and legal, online gambling framework in the United States: Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. Hills has a solid presence in the Nevada sports betting market, and is looking to get into bed with New Jersey’s Monmouth Park.

888 Holdings recently won the Casino Operator of the Year award at the 2015 International Gaming Awards (IGA) at the Savoy Hotel in London.

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Bradley Chalupski

Bradley Chalupski made his first deposit onto an online poker site in 2009 and has been paying rake and following the poker scene ever since. He received his J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law in 2010.