888’s acquisition of William Hill to complete in June after 99.7% of shareholders approve deal

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888 looks set to complete its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars Entertainment in June after 99.7% of shareholders voted to approve the deal at an extraordinary general meeting on 16 May.

“We are delighted with the support of our shareholders for our proposed acquisition of William Hill and would like to thank them for their continued, constructive engagement as part of this process,” said 888 non-executive chairman Lord Mendelsohn. 

“We look forward to completing this transformational acquisition at the end of June, creating a global online betting and gaming leader through the combination of two highly complementary businesses and two of the industry’s leading brands.”

888 has indicated its expectations for the combined business by publishing key full-year 2021 figures from both companies in its May 2022 corporate presentation.

Combined, the two firms boasted a user base of more than five million active customers, revenue in excess of £2bn and adjusted EBITDA of £383m throughout the year.

888 said the acquisition will help position the operator as a leader in core and growth markets, generate increased regulated and taxed revenue mix to improve sustainability, create enhanced exposure to sports betting through the William Hill brand and leverage the combined skills and synergies of employees, proprietary technology, branding and marketing.

In April, the price of the acquisition was reduced from £2.2bn to between £1.95bn and £2.05bn in a move which reflected macro-economic factors and the potential impact of future regulatory action against William Hill. 

888 non-executive chairman Lord Mendelsohn: “We look forward to completing this transformational acquisition and creating a global online betting and gaming leader through the combination of two highly complementary businesses and two of the industry’s leading brands.”

The price change was driven primarily by 888 negotiating a £250m discount on its payment to be made to Caesars upon completion, from £834.9m to £584.9m.

888 subsequently completed the placing of 70.8 million new shares in the business, with the net proceeds to be used in part to fund the acquisition.

The shares were placed at a price of 230p per share, representing a premium of 19.8% on 888’s closing share price of 192p on 6 April.

A Q1 2022 trading update showed that 888 suffered an annual revenue decrease of 18% during the quarter, as the number of active monthly players fell by 8% as a result of the firm’s withdrawal from the Netherlands and lower revenue per user due to stricter safer gambling measures.

888’s B2C offerings took the brunt of the downturn, with revenue from the segment falling 42% annually to $24m on a combination of customer-friendly results and a 28% decline in betting stakes.

Completion of the acquisition of William Hill’s assets and the readmission of 888’s share capital for trading on the main market of the London Stock Exchange is now expected to occur on or around 30 June 2022.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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