Betfred Acquires 3% Stake in Rival Sportsbook William Hill

  • 3.03% stake purchased by Betfred owners, the Done brothers, on Monday
  • William Hill’s share price was down 4.2% by close of trading day
  • Fred Done said shares were undervalued, brand has impressive US operations
  • Betfred also considering expansion of its business across the US 
facade of Betfred betting shop
The owners of Betfred have bought a 3.03% share in rival sportsbook operator William Hill. [Image:]

Move made after shares dropped

The owners of UK sports betting operator Betfred have bought a 3.03% stake in William Hill. The Done brothers made the purchase after the rival sportsbook company’s shares fell 2.5% during early trading. 

Following the acquisition, William Hill shares rose into the green for a time before dropping 4.2% by the end of the trading day on Monday. Tuesday morning saw share prices go up again by almost 3%. 

Reasons for Betfred’s stake purchase

Fred Done, who co-owns Betfred with his brother Peter, gave reasons for the share purchase in William Hill. He told the Racing Post, “I’ve bought Hills (sic) shares because they are massively undervalued and in my opinion when it comes to the US they are front-runners.”

The global financial markets have had a turbulent time over the past few weeks, mainly due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. Monday also saw significant market declines following a significant drop in oil prices.

Some analysts are of the opinion that Betfred may be looking to take on William Hill’s retail sports betting operations across the United Kingdom.

Betfred may be looking to take on William Hill’s retail sports betting operations

Since the maximum stake limit on fixed-odds betting terminals was lowered from £100 ($130.40) to £2 ($2.61) in April 2019, a huge number of William Hill betting shops have had to close.

Sportsbook expansion in the US market

Many European sports betting operators have been considering expanding across the US market as more states legalize sports betting. 

William Hill is one of the frontrunners in this regard. It had a strong presence in the country before the federal ban was even ended, operating numerous sportsbooks in Nevada for many years. 

The company saw a total handle of $2.9bn worth of sports wagers in the US in 2019. Of this sum, about 55% came through online sources. According to its annual report, William Hill also generated a handle of about one in four sports bets in the nation. It currently has operations in nine states.

There are more than 14 states with open legal sportsbooks so far in the US. 

Betfred getting in on the action

Betfred has also been eyeing up the American sports betting market. It now has active licenses in Iowa and Colorado, as well as plans in hand to enter Pennsylvania.

The UK-based operator has been ramping up efforts to push its brand in the US. Most notably, it was a major sponsor of the recent Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder heavyweight fight in Las Vegas.

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