Potential sale of Tom Waterhouse to William Hill, Greece on notice for bailout conditions, services sector still tight: Midday roundup

Rumours are flying British bookmaker William Hill is the frontrunner to acquire Tom Waterhouse’s online betting business.

William Hill previously acquired Sportingbet Australia, and if the reports are correct, tomwaterhouse.com could be valued at less than $150 million.

The Australian Financial Review reported the story this morning, citing undisclosed sources.

Tom Waterhouse is thought to have spent millions of dollars on advertising, including reportedly paying $50 million to become the official NRL partner for the next five years.

He has also recently been caught up in a controversy over sports betting television advertising and in late May he responded to the public outcry saying “I’m sorry… you will see less of me on TV”.

Greece placed on notice to meet its bailout conditions

Four eurozone officials have said Greece has three days to reassure Europe and the International Monetary Fund it can deliver on its bailout conditions, or it will not receive its next round of aid.

Anonymous lenders told Reuters last night they were unhappy with Greece’s efforts to reform its public sector.

“Negotiations must be concluded by Saturday or Sunday at the latest in order to have a (troika) staff agreement that will be discussed at a Eurogroup meeting on Monday,” the official said.

If Greece is unable to shape up, the IMF might withdraw the $342.2 billion in aid.

Greece has so far missed a June deadline to place 12,500 state workers into a “mobility scheme”, effectively designed to terminate them or transfer them to other roles within a year.

Services sector remains in contraction

The Australian services sector performed marginally better in June, rising 0.9 points, but it still remains in contraction according to the Australian Performance of Services Index.

The index put together by the Australian Industry Group and Commonwealth Bank saw the services sector achieve a ranking of 41.5, with readings below 50 indicating contraction in activity.

Personal and recreational and communication services were the only two sub-sectors to expand, with personal and recreational services being the best performing sub-sector with a rating of 56.7.

The worst performing sub-sector was transport and storage, which had a rating of 32.9.

“The continuing weakness across the services sector points to the fragility of the broader economy as it struggles in the face of weak demand, the slowing of the mining boom, and flat conditions in construction and manufacturing,” AI Group chief executive Innes Willox said in a statement.

Shares lower on open

The Australian share market continues to be volatile, as this morning it dropped significantly on the back of Wall Street, despite rising 2.5% yesterday.

Yesterday, Australian shares experienced their biggest jump in a single day of trade since October 6, 2011, but this morning the S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 73.6 points to 4760.4, just before midday.

Overnight, the Dow Jones fell 0.28% to 14,932.41, responding to eurozone concerns about the economic state of Greece and the riots in Egypt.

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