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Last Updated: Friday, 15 July, 2005, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
76m payday in bookies' takeover
Jack Brown
The Jack Brown logo has been familiar in Wales for decades
Welsh bookmaker Jack Brown has been bought out by Ladbrokes in a deal worth 76m for the company owners, but amid fears for 70 jobs.

Jack Brown, a family business since 1927, employs some 520 people.

There are 127 shops in Wales and 14 in the Birmingham area, but the Jack Brown name will disappear as offices are rebranded over the next six months.

Ladbrokes reportedly intends to shut the company's base at Pontypridd.

Talks about the deal have taken place over more than a year, and it now means Ladbrokes now runs 156 outlets in Wales.

Ladbrokes, which is owned by the leisure group Hilton, said it would spend about 12m refurbishing the stores over the next 18 months.

Ladbrokes now runs 2,111 outlets in the UK and Northern Ireland

It will install state-of-the-art technology, which will allow customers to bet on international horse racing and sports, as well as all UK track meets.

Jack Brown managing director Gary Brown said: "The betting business has been run by our family for over 78 years so it was important that we found the right partner for our sale."

Chris Bell, chief executive of Ladbrokes Worldwide, said: "We are delighted to have acquired this well established and well-run estate of shops in Wales.

"We know it has a great and promising future."

Ladbrokes, with its 2,111 outlets in the UK and Northern Ireland, is now only a short way behind William Hill, which runs 2,174.

Ladbrokes expects the Jack Brown outlets to make 4m earnings before December.

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