Sept. 20 - Sportingbet announced early this month it was in early phase merger talks with Empire, the owners of Empire Poker.
But it was revealed today that negotiations for a US$1.4bn takeover had ceased by mutual consent.
'Discussions were at a very preliminary stage. Sportingbet can now confirm that, by mutual agreement, it has ceased discussions with Empire in respect of the potential offer,' Sportingbet said in a statement.
Nigel Payne, chief executive of Sportingbet, said he wished Empire well in its future dealings.
Paul Leyland, leisure analyst at Seymour Pierce, said Sportingbet's decision to end talks was probably the right one for the firm.
The mooted merger would have presented significant integration problems for Sportingbet, with Empire currently using software and payment processing from PartyGaming.
PartyGaming is thought to be interested in a possible bid for Empire, which is its largest white label partner. A source close to the company said PartyGaming was keeping a close watch on the situation.