Last week the industry was surprised by rumors that Ladbrokes were in merger talks with Playtech.
The news was surprising because Ladbrokes are already in takeover talks with 888, and Playtech, the worlds largest online casino software developer is already partnered with Ladbrokes’ old enemy William Hill by virtue of the WHO JV – 29% Playtech, 71% WH Plc.
Apparently Playtech approached William Hill with requests to modify the JV agreement. William Hill said no dice and on Tuesday announced they had taken out an interim injunction to prevent any such changes being made.
“Playtech recently initiated discussions with William Hill seeking possible significant amendments to the current William Hill Online joint venture agreements,” William Hill said in its statement on Tuesday. “There has also been press speculation regarding discussions between Playtech and Ladbrokes.”
The injunction will also serve as a strong message to Ladbrokes that it an attempt to merge with Playtech will come with significant obstacles.
WHO has been very successful since its 2008 launch, and Ladbrokes are obviously keen to inject some of the online magic that Playtech clearly posses into their Internet casino business. William Hill will be just as keen to maintain the status-quo.
Plenty more water to flow under the bridge here!