Global online gambling brand, 888 are edging closer to what could be a significant deal for the future of its company, with the firm understood to be in ‘advanced discussions’ to buy William Hill’s European operations.
However, they only had plans to utilise William Hill’s online US-facing assets in order to help establish itself as a force in the ever-growing and potentially highly lucrative US market.
As a result, William Hill’s European assets, including all of its betting shops, have been up for sale since and it appears that 888 has won a fiercely contested fight. Their main rival, Apollo Global Management, were competing with Caesars initially to buy the company and it appears that for a second time, the financial institution has lost out.
William Hill's UK operations are close to being snapped up by online player 888 Holdings following an auction ordered by the company's US owner https://t.co/PEYPaWdl3c
Having bought William Hill for £2.9 billion, Caesars are set to make a substantial, relative profit, purely for the European division of the business, with 888 understood to have bid in excess of £2 billion, which means that Caesars will recoup more than two-thirds of what it paid.
It means that 888 would take ownership of all William Hill’s European online assets, which includes WilliamHill.com in addition to MrGreen.com, while what will become of the 1,400 betting shops also provide intrigue. It could be that 888 looks to sell these on to recoup some of the outlay, with Betfred and Irish firm BoyleSports understood to be interested.
A statement from the company disclosed: “888 notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Caesars Entertainment, Inc. regarding a possible acquisition of the international [non-US] business of William Hill.
“There can be no certainty that these advanced discussions will result in a transaction. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.”
A major move for 888
Already, 888 Holdings is one of the biggest firms in the gambling industry and has a number of brands under its umbrella, in addition to their B2B (Business-to-Business) division, Dragonfish Gaming which assists in developing most of their software.
Adding William Hill’s European assets to its portfolio will provide an unparalleled opportunity for growth on the continent when considering the number of customers that William Hill has, while there is also the potential for strategic cross-marketing opportunities as well.
For a company like 888, staying competitive in the industry is particularly important, when considering that rivals Entain (previously GVC Holdings) has a number of major brands, including Coral, Ladbrokes and Bwin in its portfolio.
William Hill has long been a household name in the betting industry, particularly in the UK market and this will help 888 to gain a much stronger grip in the UK.
A former Press Association Sports Journalist (NCTJ – National Council for the Training of Journalists), now based in Lisbon, Matt also has over a decade of experience working with the top operator brands. These include Coral, BetVictor, and numerous others, having held a number of senior positions and still retains strong industry relationships. He enjoys reading, writing, travelling, all things business, sport, meeting new people, learning new things and also holds football coaching qualifications.