* Ladbrokes moves into betting exchange market
* Deal a relief after previous failed takeover talks
LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - British bookmaker Ladbrokes has bolstered its struggling online unit by buying the operator of the Betdaq betting exchange for 30 million euros ($39.8 million).
The swift agreement on a deal for Betdaq will be a relief for Britain’s second largest bookmaker after previous talks on larger acquisitions in the sector ended without success. Shares in Ladbroke rose 3.5 percent to 206.3p by 0900 GMT.
Dublin-based Betdaq, founded in 2000 by Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, is the second largest betting exchange behind Betfair.
Betting exchanges allow punters to gamble against one another, rather than using the odds set by a bookmaker.
The deal, expected to complete late next month, will allow Ladbrokes to offer another service to its online customers.
Profit at Ladbrokes digital business halved in the first six months of 2012. As a response, it has increased technology investment and appointed a new director for that part of the business.
The initial fee of 30 million euros will be paid half in cash and half in Ladbrokes shares. Ladbrokes will also make additional payments based upon growth in the exchange operator’s profits over the next four years.