888 Snaps up William Hill’s European Business for £2.2bn

What seemed like the longest bidding war ever, 888 Holdings bid of £2.2bn to purchase William Hill’s European business including 1,400 betting shops within the UK has finally been accepted.US casino giant Caesars Entertainment has agreed to sell the European arm of William Hill after its £2.9 bn takeover of the company in April. Caesars had always made it clear from the outset they were only interested in William Hill’s US operations after striking a sports betting deal with William Hill previous to the takeover.

Three Final Contenders

888 was one of three in the final bidding war, Apollo Global Management dropped out and CVC the largest casino operator in Germany had their bid blown out of the water by 888 over the weekend.It was rumoured only last week if 888 were successful in gaining William Hill’s European operations they would sell off the retail arm of the business including the 1,400 William Hill retail outlets within the UK. However, 888 Chief Executive Itai Panzer said,“We are also excited about the opportunities that the retail business provides and see significant brand benefits”.He went on to say William Hill’s high street outlets were a contributing factor in the move.

Combined Employment of 12,000

The acquisition of the two groups will no doubt create one of the largest, betting and gaming companies worldwide and combined will employ 12,000 staff.Still waiting for the approval of shareholders and the green light from the Financial Conduct Authority 888 are confident with the proposed deal.Chair of 888 Lord Mendelsohn said,“We believe the acquisition will create significant value for shareholders, creating a combined business with leading technology, products and brands across sports betting, gaming and poker, supported by top quality management from both businesses”.There were questions raised as to the validity of William Hill’s retail outlets after the pandemic closed betting shops for the best part of a year. Once able to re-open William Hill made the decision to close 119 retail outlets within the UK siting, they did not believe customers would return in the volumes previous to the pandemic.

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