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FT: William Hill To Start Talks With Playtech To Salvage Online JV

3/11/2012 10:59 PM ET

UK-based gaming and betting services provider William Hill Plc (WMH.L) will start talks with Playtech Ltd. (PTEC.L) on whether to salvage their online joint venture William Hill Online, after relations between the two companies broke down last year, the Financial Times reported Sunday.

Playtech, a provider of software and content to online and land-based gaming industry, has been William Hill's online partner after it acquired a stake in WHO for 250 million euros in 2008.

The stake was acquired by Playtech in return for providing the software for online casino and poker games to lure customers to WHO. Playtech owns 29 percent of WHO.

According to the FT report, William Hill and Playtech will now start talks, seeking to either end their joint venture or find "a third way". William Hill is reportedly seeking to gain strategic control over WHO by ending Playtech's veto over acquisitions.

In November 2011, William Hill announced that it does not intend to make a takeover bid for Probability plc (PBTY.L), after reportedly being vetoed by Playtech.

The FT report noted that William Hill also intends to obtaining a commitment from Playtech not to work with its rival Ladbrokes plc (LAD.L).

William Hill confirmed in March 2011 that it took an interim injunction to prevent Playtech from selling its stake in WHO, following a court hearing. In November this year, William Hill has the opportunity to activate a call option to end the joint venture, by buying out Playtech's stake.

WMH.L closed Friday's trading on the LSE at 239.20 pence, up 4.00 pence or 1.70 percent on a volume of 2.46 million shares. PTEC.L closed trading at 312.54 pence, up 1.29 pence or 0.41 percent on a volume of 0.54 million shares.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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