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888 reportedly wins William Hill auction for over £2bn

888 Holdings has won the auction for William Hill’s European operations, according to a report by the Times.

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888 fended off competition from Apollo Global Management with an over £2bn ($2.76bn) bid.

Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill in a £2.9bn deal, concluding one of the largest gaming mergers in history, but shortly after it looked to sell the British gambling giant’s European assets.

When the sale was first announced, it was expected that William Hill’s European operations would go for about £1.5bn but soon several international sports betting and casino games operators were in the running and things heated up.

Earlier this year, it was reported that German gaming group Tipico was involved, alongside other major gaming companies like Apollo Global Management and Betfred.

However, after the recent withdrawal of Advent International, the process had become a three-horse race between Apollo, 888, and CVC Capital Partners (working with Tipico).

Apollo was regarded as the favourite to win the race, while CVC had the advantage of having previously owned William Hill, but the CVC-led bid was knocked out leaving only Apollo and 888.

None of the parties have yet made any comment but speaking about 888’s results last week, CEO Itai Pazner said: “We’re in a really strong position now, our products are at a good stage, ready to take on more scale, our balance sheet is clean and we’re ready to take on any interesting opportunities to boost our successful organic growth strategy of the last couple of years.”

What will happen to William Hill’s betting shops is currently unknown, though 888 had earlier suggested it may keep the retail unit.

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