888 Agrees to Acquire William Hill’s Non-US Assets for £2.2 Billion

Gibraltar-based igaming and online sports betting operator 888 Holdings has agreed to pay £2.2 billion for William Hill’s non-US assets.

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On Tuesday, the London-listed company confirmed rumours that it had won the bid for William Hill’s international operations and said that it was in advanced talks with Caesars Entertainment to acquire the bookmaker’s assets across the UK and Europe.

Today, 888 has announced that it has reached an agreement with Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment to purchase the non-US business of William Hill for £2.2 billion ($3.03 billion). The assets at stake include over 1400 betting shops in the UK and Ireland as well as the company’s online operations in various European countries, including UK, Spain, and Italy.

Caesars announced plans to offload these businesses in order to concentrate on William Hill’s US operations shortly after purchasing the company in April. The auction attracted several bids from well-known companies like CVC Capital Partners and Apollo Global Management, but 888 outbid them to emerge the winner.

888 CEO Says the Acquisition Deal is a Hugely Exciting Moment

In its statement about the acquisition, 888 expressed its excitement about reaching an agreement with Caesars, terming the deal as a ‘transformational and hugely exciting moment’ in its history.

The deal is the largest for 888 Holdings since the company’s listing in the main market of the London Stock Exchange in 2005, and it will see the group enter the UK retail sector for the first time.

‘’The acquisition of William Hill International is a transformational and hugely exciting moment in 888’s history. This transaction will create one of the leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, exceptional brands, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth,’’ said Itai Pazner, Chief Executive of 888.

‘’William Hill is an iconic sports brand, making it the ideal complement to 888, one of the leading global online gaming brands. Our strategies are also complementary, being digitally led, customer focused, and committed to player protection and raising industry standards around safer gambling,’’ added Pazner.

The company is positive that the transaction will deliver substantial value for its stakeholders, with the pre-tax cost synergies gained from the acquisition estimated to reach £100 million annually. The operator is also expecting to see an increase in revenue from enhanced product offering and access to a larger customer base.

More Details on the Acquisition Deal

The William Hill International acquisition agreement has been classed as a reverse takeover. This means that 888 will require approval from its shareholders before closing the deal.

However, the operator has revealed that it has received approval from its largest shareholder and 888’s founder Shaked Ventures. Other shareholders with significant stake in the company like the Aberdeen Standard Investments also support the acquisition, according to 888.

The company has secured about £2.1 billion in fully debt financing from American multi-national investment bank JP Morgan, global financial services firm Morgan Stanley, and Italian investment bank Mediobanca to fund the deal. 888 has also revealed plans to issue new equity to raise £500 million in the coming days.

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