Ben-Yitzhaks sell approximate £60m-worth in 888 shares

By David Cook
Two co-founders of 888 Holdings have sold shares worth an approximate £59.6m in the operator.

The Ben-Yitzhak brothers, Shay and Ron, who founded the company with Shaked brothers Avi and Aharon in 1997, were confirmed by 888 to have reduced their stake in the business to 2.59%.

The number of ordinary shares owned by the “Ben-Yitzhak Family Shares Trust” has reduced from 37.1 million to 9.3 million, with their previous shareholding being 10.4%, while the Shaked family collectively holds a 48.2%, split evenly between Avi and his late brother’s children.

William Hill had discussions with 888 over the possibility of acquiring the business last year, though talks ended due to a lack of agreement with a key stakeholder, reported to be Avi Shaked, who asked for 300p a share as opposed to 200p a share.

888 has missed out on the M & A activity that has been going on across the industry recently, after it was beaten to purchasing BwinParty by GVC Holdings, despite the fact that 888 had agreed a deal last year to buy BwinParty for 104.09p per share, before being trumped by GVC’s offer of 25p in cash plus 0.231 new GVC shares per BwinParty share.

Itai Frieberger was announced as permanent CEO of 888 in March, having stepped up from COO initially on an interim basis last May when Brian Mattingley left the position to become executive chairman of the board.

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