888 Holdings could be target at Las Vegas Sands changes tack, suggests broker

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888 Holdings PLC (LON:888) could be a takeover target for US casino colossus Las Vegas Sands Corp (NYSE:LVS), according to speculation in the City.

Sands, which owns the Venetian and Palazzo resorts on the Las Vegas strip, is in talks to make a big move into the online sports betting market, according to media reports over the weekend.

With the US sports betting market taking off, the company is reported to be considering bringing its sports betting business in house.

Las Vegas Sands, which last year was reported to be examining a potential sale of its Strip properties and focusing more on Asia and other projects.

Acting chief executive officer Robert Goldstein is, according to a report on Bloomberg, eyeing the development of a new betting platform and has had discussions with “potential partners” in relation to sports betting.

One potential move could be to acquire or work with one of London’s bookmakers and online gaming specialists, as rivals Caesars and MGM have done with William Hill and Ladbrokes.

A potential partner for Sands could be 888, suggested broker Peel Hunt.

Currently Sands is believed to use third-party sports betting technology from William Hill, which is in the process of being acquired by Sand’s competitor Caesars.

“Working with 888, or buying it, is not its only option, but it would bring market-leading knowhow, technology and a great brand, for Sands China in particular,” the Peel analysts said.

“A collaboration between 888 and Sands, commercial or corporate, is uncertain, but would have the potential to materially offset UK risks to revenue.”

Shares in 888 were barely moved on Monday morning, up one penny at 305p.

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