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UPDATE 1-UK's Gamesys agrees to $2.8 bln possible buyout offer from Bally's

(Adds shares, details of the deal)

March 24 (Reuters) - British gambling operator Gamesys agreed to a possible takeover by U.S.-listed Bally’s Corp in a deal valued at 2.02 billion pounds ($2.77 billion), the companies announced on Wednesday.

Shares in Gamesys jumped as much as 19% to an all-time high of 1,956 pence, above Bally’s offer of 1,850 apiece in cash. Bally’s shares were trading up nearly 6% on the NYSE.

The deal, if completed, would enable the UK-listed betting firm to benefit largely from Bally’s land-based and online platform in the U.S.

American gambling firms in recent months have been tapping the expertise of their British peers as sports betting has taken off in the United States during the coronavirus crisis, with Caesars Entertainment agreeing last September to buy William Hill in a 2.9 billion-pound deal.

As a part of the possible combination, Bally’s also proposed to make a share alternative available to Gamesys shareholders of 1,655 pence each for those who wished to remain shareholders in the larger group.

Gamesys Chief Executive Officer Lee Fenton would lead the combined group and two Gamesys directors would join Bally’s board, the statement added. ($1 = 0.7292 pounds) (Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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