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Sportingbet dismisses merger talk until U.S. legal situation is resolved

Jim Wilkinson, the financial director for British online gambling group Sportingbet plc, has opined that his company is unlikely to be a player in industry consolidation until it has agreed a settlement with United States authorities to protect it from the threat of prosecution for activities pre-UIGEA.

The Sportingbet executive told the Reuters news agency: "We think it's pretty difficult for us to take part in anything until the U.S. issue is settled. People perceive it as a block. I can't really see much happening for us until that's sorted out. If and when it does we'll see what the opportunities are."

It's not for want of trying on Sportingbet's part; the company has been reporting it is in talks with US authorities for the past two years, apparently so far without a conclusion.

Wilkinson said: "It's difficult to have a timeframe. If you had asked me this time last year, I'd have thought it would happen last year. It's out of our hands; it's in DoJ's (US Department of Justice) hands. The talks are positive and amicable and they're going to end up doing it when they're ready," he said.

Analysts say a settlement in the US would give confidence to investors and perhaps make Sportingbet an attractive target for a lucrative takeover by one of the mega-groups interested in the online industry.

Source: InfoPowa News

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