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Murdoch bets on 365 - report

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News International broadcaster BSkyB is in talks to acquire 365 Media Group according to a report in The Times - also owned by News International.

Known until recently as UKBetting.com, the company runs gambling and sporting websites including sportinglife.com, Rivals.net and Football365.

According to The Times, negotiations with 365 Media are at an advanced stage, with a purchase price of £92m quoted.

365 Media went public in 2001, on the AIM exchange, and turned its first profit in 2004. In its most recent financial disclosure, the group reported a turnover of £62.4m, up 12 per cent year-on-year, and a gross profit of £13.2m, up from £11.4m in 1H 2005. In October it said it was open to offers.

After the United States Senate recently passed legislation outlawing internet gambling, Media 365 said it wasn't hugely affected, given that most of its audience was British, and most of the overseas audience that bets on British sporting events is in Asia.

News International has been buying niche sites largely ignored by "Web 2.0" pundits, including Intermix, owner of MySpace. ®

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