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Takeover bid speculation for Ladbrokes arises again

A mystery investor has acquired a near 3% stake in Ladbrokes for £37.1 million (€44.2 million/$59 million), sparking fresh speculation of a possible takeover bid for the UK bookmaker.

The UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper said that the investor is Playtech founder Teddy Sagi, who made the deal either through his own account or that of Playtech, in which he holds a 49% stake.

Playtech already has a relationship with Ladbrokes, having been hired by the bookmaker to overhaul its poor performing digital business – something that has been highlighted as the main cause of four profits warnings in the space of just over a year.

Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes’ chief executive, is reported to be under pressure, and he said recently that the company’s digital division operating profits could be up to £17.5 million lower than expected this year.

However, Despite the investment in Ladbrokes, it is thought a bid from Playtech remains unlikely.

In other news, Ladbrokes has confirmed the appointment of David Martin as a non-executive director, effective from October 31.

The move comes after John Jarvis, the group’s chief visionary officer, announced earlier this year that he is to step down from Ladbrokes at next year’s AGM.

Martin will make the move to Ladbrokes from European passenger transport provider Arriva, where he has been serving as chief executive. He will succeed Jarvis as chairman of the remuneration committee.

“I am delighted to welcome David to the board,” Ladbrokes chairman Peter Erskine said. “His extensive management experience, notably of international operations, is particularly relevant at this stage of the group's development and will complement the existing skills of the board.”

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