The board has previously set out a clear organic strategy for Ladbrokes

LADBROKES HAS CONFIRMED that it is back on the acquisition trail by making a 'highly preliminary' approach to purchase rival sportsbook and gaming operator Sportingbet.

Rumour had it that Ladbrokes was interested in purchasing its rival for up to /460 million while its official announcement sent shares in Sportingbet soaring by 19 percent.

"The board has previously set out a clear organic strategy for Ladbrokes," said Richard Glynn, Chief Executive Officer for Ladbrokes.

"We also stated that we would explore appropriate opportunities that may help us accelerate that process and bring benefits to our shareholders. These talks should be seen in that context."

Ladbrokes had previously been interested in buying fellow online operator 888 Holdings but terminated talks in April despite months of negotiations after failing to agree a price.

It has also held exploratory talks with software developer Playtech regarding unification while Sportingbet is itself in the process of acquiring Australian online gaming and wagering provider Centrebet International Limited in a deal said to be worth up to $190 million.
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