888 unveils management team structure as William Hill acquisition completes

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888 Holdings has restructured its senior management team after completing the purchase of William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars Entertainment.

Last week, former Hills CEO Ulrik Bengtsson was confirmed as the first casualty of the approximate £2bn deal, which qualifies as a reverse takeover under FCA rules.

888 has confirmed that former William Hill CFO Eric Hageman will also be leaving the combined business after unveiling its senior leadership structure today (1 July).

The existing 888 team will remain largely in their positions, including Itai Pazner as CEO, Yariv Dafna as CFO and Vaughan Lewis as chief strategy officer, as well as Guy Cohen as COO, who previously occupied the role on an interim basis.

They will be joined by a brand-new recruit in the form of Harinder Gill as chief risk officer. Gill will start on 3 August and was formerly head of regulatory compliance and Revolut.

William Hill bosses have also been added to the team, including Mark Skinner as chief people officer, Satty Bhens as CPTO and Phil Walker as UK managing director.

Finally, Naama Kushnir – who previously held the role of COO at 888 – has been appointed chief transformation officer of the combined group, with a sizeable integration pending.

888 Holdings chairman Lord Mendelsohn: “With a top-quality management team, formed from talent from across both businesses, I am confident about our future plans.”

Lord Mendelsohn, chair of 888, said: “This combination brings together two high quality businesses to create a powerful, global betting and gaming business.

“We believe the acquisition will create significant value for shareholders, creating a combined business with leading technology, products and brands across sports betting and gaming.

“With a top-quality management team, formed from talent from across both businesses, I am confident about our future plans,” he added.

888 expects the transaction to deliver pre-tax cost synergies of at least £100m by 2025.

The London-listed operator will now report its interim results in British pounds, with interim results scheduled for August 2022.

For reporting purposes, the business will be broken down into four segments: 888, William Hill Online UK, William Hill Retail UK and William Hill International.

As the acquisition constitutes a reverse takeover, admission of the company’s ordinary shares for trading on the London Stock Exchange will be cancelled at 8am on 4 July 2022.

Applications have been made to the FCA and the London Stock Exchange for re-admission of the company’s existing 446,331,656 ordinary shares to the LSE main market, with re-admission likely to become effective from 8am on 4 July 2022.

In a note to investors, Caesars Entertainment said it received net proceeds of $730m as part of the initial payment, which it will use to reduce outstanding debt.

Earlier this month, 888 entered into its own total debt position of £1.76bn to help fund the acquisition. The previously agreed purchase price was reduced by £250m in April.

About the author

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Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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