Hills issue Playtech with injunction

    William Hill yesterday fired an interim injunction at their online gaming partner Playtech, following last week’s newspaper speculation linking the latter with rivals Ladbrokes.

    William Hill issued the injunction to ensure that their legal rights are maintained in the company’s joint-venture agreement with Playtech.

    That agreement allows for Hills to acquire Playtech’s stake in 2013, or in 2015.

    Playtech responded by issuing their own statement, noting the move by Hills, which read: “Playtech’s interests in the joint venture remain unaffectedby the interim injunction.”

    A City source suggested the legal action was more to do with the long-running antipathy between the two major bookmakers, as Playtech already have deals with many of their high street rivals.

    Playtech, who put €250 million into William Hill’s online gaming business, taking a 29 per cent stake, in their 2008 agreement, are the largest supplier of licensed gaming software and include the Tote, Paddy Power and Betfred among their licensees.

    Hills announce their annual results for the year ended
    December 28, 2010, on Friday, with group chief executive Ralph Topping expected to explain further the injunction
    and their partnership with Playtech.

    Tuesday’s statement from Hills said they had “secured an interim injunction against Playtech to ensure that its legal
    rights under the William Hill Online joint venture agreements are maintained.

    “Playtech recently initiated discussions with Hills, seeking possible significant amendments to the current William Hill
    Online joint venture agreements. There has also been press speculation regarding discussions between Playtech and
    Ladbrokes plc.”

    Ladbrokes are involved in a takeover bid for online casino 888 and there was media speculation about a similar merger with Playtech, but City insiders suggest talks between Ladbrokes and Playtech would be about a similar online gaming software agreement that Playtech already have with many other bookmakers.

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