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UK

Ladbrokes owner Entain raises offer for rival Enlabs to $440 million

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks past a branch of Ladbrokes in London, Britain December 22, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) - Ladbrokes owner Entain on Monday raised its cash offer for rival Swedish sports betting firm Enlabs AB to value it at around 3.7 billion crowns ($440.16 million) and said it would not increase the price further.

The British company raised its cash offer to 53 crowns per share from an earlier 40 crowns per share, an 18.6% premium to Enlabs shares’ last close.

Shares of Entain were up 1.7% at 1,437.5 pence in early trading.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a flurry of deals in the bookmaking sector, with potential buyers seeking to capitalise on a surge in online betting from customers confined to their homes during lockdowns.

“In a highly competitive and regulated industry, where consolidation is a key theme, Entain is able to provide the scale and platform needed to further support Enlabs’ long-term growth,” Entain’s chief financial officer and deputy CEO, Rob Wood, said in a statement.

Baltic-focussed Enlabs, which operates brands such as Optibet and NinjaCasino, has recommended shareholders accept the increased offer.

Under the leadership of former CEO Shay Segev, Entain, formerly known as GVC Holdings, planned to expand in sports betting and gaming entertainment, while exiting unregulated markets by 2023.

($1 = 8.4060 Swedish crowns)

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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