888 to acquire William Hill's non-US business for $3.03bn

By Peter Lynch

888 Holdings has entered into an agreement with Caesars Entertainment to acquire the non-US business of William Hill for a total of £2.2bn ($3.03bn).

As stated by 888, the acquisition aims to create a global online betting and gaming leader by combining “two of the industry’s leading brands,” representing a transformational opportunity for the company to “significantly increase its scale, further diversify its product mix and accelerate the upward shift of its revenue growth profile.”

The combination of the two groups is expected to deliver pre-tax cost synergies of at least £100m per year, with 888 noting that annual revenue and adjusted EBITDA for 2020 would have been $2.5bn and $464m respectively.

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

“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.

“We have been incredibly impressed with the William Hill management team, and I look forward to working with them and the wider William Hill team to create great products for our customers, driven by best in class technology, powerful brands, and benefitting from our significantly enhanced scale.”

Caesars said that the transaction is subject to receipt of the approval of 888 shareholders and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. Deutsche Bank and Linklaters LLP represented Caesars on the transaction.

888 Chair Lord Jon Mendelsohn commented: “This acquisition is an incredible opportunity to combine our world-class gaming brand with a unique and iconic sports betting brand to create a global leader in the online sports betting and gaming industry.

“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 talent from both businesses.”

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