Shares in FTSE 250 Ladbrokes were down 0.5 percent at 157.5 pence at 0810 GMT, slightly outperforming the 0.9 percent decline in the FTSE 250 .FTMC, while CANAL+ was down 0.4 percent.

Under the 50:50 joint venture, Ladbrokes will provide its betting and gaming knowledge and technology, while premium pay TV provider CANAL+ will provide access to media, brand, potential consumers and its experience of operating in the French market.

(Reporting by Julie Crust; editing by Mark Potter)

* JV will be Ladbrokes’ first move into the French market

(Adds details)

LONDON, April 8 Britain’s biggest bookmaker Ladbrokes Plc (LAD.L) has signed a conditional joint venture agreement with Groupe CANAL+ CNLP.PA to launch an online betting and gaming service in France, it said on Thursday.

“We believe that there is an opportunity to build a good business in France over time as the market and regulation develop,” said Ladbrokes’ managing director of remote betting and gaming John O’Reilly.

* Service to launch this year subject to regulatory OK

Each company will provide 2.25 million euros ($3 million) as initial funding for the venture.

* Each company to provide 2.25 mln euros as initial funding

($1=.7511 EURO)

The new service, Ladbrokes first move into the French market in its 124-year history, is set to launch this year subject to competition clearances

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