Online Casino BTDino

The blog for the online casino btdino contest

Monday, September 19, 2005

move to aquire empire online

LONDON (Reuters) - Recently-listed Internet gaming services firm Empire Online Ltd (EOL.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is thought to be the target of online betting group, Sportingbet (SBT.L: Quote, Profile, Research), British media reported on Saturday.

On Friday Empire said it had received a 790 million pound bid approach, but declined to name its suitor.

Initial market speculation suggested firms such as PartyGaming (PRTY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) or 888.com might be the mystery bidder, but on Saturday the British business press said AIM-listed Sportingbet was the company in the frame.

Saturday's Financial Times, along with other newspapers, said in an unsourced story Sportingbet was in talks with Empire which has said the bid approach was 270p a share in cash and shares.

Empire Online floated at 175p a share in June and stock in the firm, which provides marketing and drives traffic to sites run by gaming companies, closed on Friday at 265p.

The interest in Empire, founded by Israeli businessman Noam Lanir in 1998, underlines the growth potential investors see in online casino games such as poker and roulette.

The amount Britons gamble over the Internet increased by more than six times in 2004, according to survey released earlier this year by casino 888.com.

The findings showed a 566 percent increase in the amount of money Britons staked online since the end of 2003.