888 Holdings on Course for £2.2bn Takeover of William Hill’s UK Operations in Q1 2022

  • 888 has received the necessary regulatory and antitrust approvals for the takeover
  • The operator will become the UK’s third-largest gambling firm through the deal
  • Caesars Entertainment took over William Hill in April 2021 for £2.9bn ($3.9bn)
  • 888 secured the purchase of William Hill’s non-US assets in September
888 Holdings logo
888 Holdings has revealed that its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets will likely come to completion in Q1 2022. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A few other closing conditions

Online gambling company 888 Holdings is moving ever closer to completing its takeover of the non-US business of William Hill in the first quarter of next year. The operator has informed shareholders that it has received all of the necessary gaming regulatory and antitrust approvals for the £2.2bn ($2.9bn) acquisition.

a shareholder vote scheduled for early 2022

There are a few remaining closing conditions that 888 must meet before the deal can go ahead. This includes a shareholder vote scheduled for early 2022. Other conditions include the reorganization of the William Hill group in order to separate its non-US operations, as well as shares-related approvals from the London Stock Exchange and the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

Combining two powerful groups

Following the completion of this acquisition, 888 will become the third-largest gambling operator in the UK, only behind Flutter Entertainment and Entain. The operator also believes the deal will allow it to save around £100m ($133m) each year.

William Hill actually attempted to take over 888 in 2015, but its biggest shareholder blocked the deal. In a turn of events the following year, 888 and the Rank Group worked together in an unsuccessful effort to take over William Hill.

888 Holdings chief executive Itai Pazner has confirmed he is happy with the progress the deal has made to date. He said: “This transaction will create one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading technology, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth, supported by a portfolio of iconic brands.”

Patai has expressed excitement for the different opportunities on the horizon through the combination of the two “powerful and complementary businesses.”

A closer look at the deal

Caesars Entertainment completed its £2.9bn ($3.9bn) takeover of William Hill in April 2021. However, the US casino giant had no interest in the non-US assets of William Hill, quickly announcing that it intended to sell the arm.

Many parties showed an interest in the assets. As well as 888 Holdings, private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Tipico, and Betfred all considered the opportunity at some point. Ultimately, Caesars and 888 agreed to a deal in September.

William Hill is one of Britain’s oldest gambling brands and currently owns around 1,400 retail sportsbooks across the UK, as well as providing jobs for 10,500 workers.

If the deal completes, it will represent the first time 888 has entered the retail space. Chief executive Pazner believes that the retail operations will help the operator as advertising rules look set to tighten in the UK. He affirmed that the retail offering will become a core asset, adding: “A presence on the high street is an added benefit from a brand perspective.”

888 has made some personnel appointments in order to prepare for the integration of William Hill’s operations. This includes the appointment of Guy Cohen, who has become senior vice president, director of integration. The company is also planning to raise about £500m ($667m) through the issuance of new equity. This is set to take place before the finalization of the acquisition.  

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