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Sunday, September 18, 2005

marketvalue 888

Online casino operator 888.com set a price range of 162-212 pence per share on Thursday for its flotation, implying stock market value of no more than 714.6 million pounds for the business.

The company had been hoping for 750 million pounds, while its brokers wanted up to 875 million pounds. The valuation was hit by Internet poker group PartyGaming''s warning last week of slow growth in the sector.

888 is over 90 percent controlled by two Israeli families and run by Gibraltar-based Cassava, which also operates fellow online casinos Pacific Poker and Reef Club Casino.

Investment bank HSBC has been appointed as sole bookrunner, global co-ordinator and sponsor for the 888 float while Bridgewell, Panmure and Numis are co-lead managers.

HSBC Holdings Plc is managing the sale.

Order-taking runs through September 28 and the shares begin trading in London September 29.

888 said its annual dividend will represent about 50 percent of net profit. The company earned $41.1 million last year.