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Ladbrokes owner Entain makes Dutch push with $887 million BetCity deal

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FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks past a branch of Ladbrokes in London
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(Reuters) - British gambling group Entain agreed on Tuesday to acquire online sports betting and gaming operator BetCity in a deal worth up to 850 million euros ($887 million) to build its presence in the Dutch market.

Entain said BetCity's offering was highly complementary to its bwin and Party brands, which are awaiting approval to operate in the Netherlands.

Entain, which owns the Ladbrokes and Coral betting firms, said it would acquire BetCity from Sports Entertainment Media B.V. for an initial consideration of 300 million euros plus a deferred contingent consideration of up to 550 million euros.

"This transaction further underpins our growth strategy of operating in attractive regulated markets," Entain Chief Executive Officer Jette Nygaard-Andersen said.

BetCity's CEO Melvin Bostelaar will remain with the company, Entain said. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.

The gambling group had said it was now using excess cash on acquisitions this year rather than shareholder payouts after the bookmaker in the past year saw U.S. rival DraftKings and casino operator MGM make takeover approaches for its business, though neither resulted in a deal.

($1 = 0.9582 euros)

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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