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William Hill offers to buy Swedish gaming company Green & Co

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(Reuters) – British gaming and betting company William Hill Plc <WMH.L> said on Wednesday that it offered to buy Sweden-based gaming company Mr Green & Co AB <MRG.ST> for 2.82 billion Swedish Crowns(241.81 million pounds), looking to expand and diversify into more European markets.

Gaming companies in the U.K. have been shifting their focus to other countries as stricter regulation at home crimps revenue and profit. Mr Green holds remote gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Britain and Ireland.

It also operates brands such as redbet, Mr green and bertil among a range of other iGamingsites.

MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries,” said Philip Bowcock, William Hill’s chief executive officer.

Mr Green, also known as MRG, also expects to obtain Swedish licences by the end of the year.

The company started in 2007 after entrepreneurs Henrik Bergquist, Mikael Pawlo and Fredrik Sidfalk created the character Mr Green and developed the casino site. It currently operates in 13 countries.

William Hill offered a near 49 percent premium to MRG’s closing price of 46.5 Swedish Crowns on Tuesday. The deal has been recommended for approval by Mr Green & Co’s board and shareholders who own over 40 percent of MRG accepted the offer.

Mr Green & Co reported strong results for the third quarter, with revenue increasing nearly 51 percent.

($1 = 9.1737 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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