World Business: Making Book on a Sure Thing

For wagering Britons, London stockbrokers last week offered as much sporting activity as the Grand National Steeplechase and the World Cup soccer championship together. Shares of Ladbroke Group Ltd., Britain's premier bookmaking house, were offered to the public, and thousands queued for days in advance at banks in London's City and West End to pick up prospectuses and put in orders.

On the big day, all Britain seemed determined to buy the bookmaker lock, stock and tout sheet. Priced at an initial $1.40 each, the 1,350,000 shares were grabbed up in a fraction of...

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