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Australian betting app BlueBet saw its shares jump 20% on the back of a reported merger with Matt Tripp’s Betr.

Following the price increase, BlueBet has placed its shares in a trading halt.

The halt will continue “pending the release of an announcement about a material acquisition and equity capital raising transaction”.

BlueBet said the halt will continue until it makes its announcement, or the commencing of trading on 12 April, whichever comes first.

This appears to confirm M&A rumours first reported in the Australian Financial Review, as well as suggesting an announcement could be imminent.

According to anonymous sources quoted in the AFR, Betr will sign an all-stock merger agreement with the business.

The deal – which could be announced later today (10 April) – will see the venture list on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Deal rationale

Acquiring BlueBet’s technology platform is reportedly an important factor behind the agreement. Betr has allegedly struggled with a poor offering in this area since launch.

The business has seen prominent investors including News Corp and Matt Davey’s Tekkorp leave it behind, and is now backed by a consortium of investors led by Matthew Tripp.

Tripp is an experienced gaming professional, having led multiple companies in the space including as chairman of Sportsbet from 2011-2013.

In November, there were rumours Betr was in the running to acquire PointsBet’s remaining Australian business after it sold its US arm to Fanatics.

The AFR first reported the Betr-BlueBet merger talks in January.

At the time, it was reported the merger would help the combined business reach sufficient scale to survive increased regulatory headwinds in Australia.

Australia is currently mulling whether to implement a gambling advertising ban, a move which is being considered by communication minister Michelle Rowland MP.

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