Mixing signals across the pond

Feb 5, 2002 9:06 AM

About a year ago, Hilton Group Plc, said it was going to downplay its gaming interest, especially that involving Ladbroke, one of England’s biggest bookmaking operations, in order to concentrate on its international hotel business.

In fact, shortly after, the company sent its longtime CEO, Peter George out to pasture, although the 50-something executive was hardly ready to retire.

Now comes word that Ladbroke is looking for a partner to buy out rival Coral Ltd. for something in the range of $1b. Sources said Ladbroke would need a partner to pass regulatory approval. The company bought Coral in 1998 but the transaction was blocked by regulators.

Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE) saw substantial value in having George in its pinstripes so it placed him in charge of its international development team. Look for major results in that area.