Ladbrokes Plc. confirms talks to buy 888 Holdings Plc.

Ladbrokes Plc. issued a brief statement today confirming recent speculation the company is in talks to purchase 888 Holdings Plc. A deal between the two companies could potentially be worth £470 million.

Media sources were reporting representatives of Ladbrokes Plc., which owns Ladbrokes Poker, had flown to Israel to discuss a takeover deal with 888 Holdings Plc. founders and controlling shareholders Avi and Aharon Shaked.

Ladbrokes said in a release today that "no decision has been made as to whether any proposal will be made to 888." 888 Holdings Plc. owns and operates various online gambling sites, including Pacific Poker.

The acquisition news comes on the heels of reports PartyGaming Plc., owner of PartyPoker.com, was in talks with 888 Holdings Plc. over a possible merger. PartyGaming Plc. is now thought to be considering the possible acquisition of Bwin, an Austrian sports betting company.

The possible mergers are a consequence of companies making major changes after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in the United States, which takes another step in banning online gambling in the nation.

PartyGaming is looking to strengthen its position in the industry again with a merger, while companies that remained strong such as Ladbrokes and Bodog.com are expanding by acquiring other companies.

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