Gaming groups consider multi-billion Hills bid

William Hill: online operation has suffered in recent times

William Hill: online operation has suffered in recent times

  PICTURE: David Dew  

 By Jack Haynes 1:22PM 24 JUL 2016 

UNDERPERFORMING bookmaker William Hill are the subject of a potential transaction with 888 Holdings and Rank Group considering a £3 billion joint bid.

The pair of gaming groups have formed a consortium in the hope of securing a purchase of William Hill, who this week took drastic action to aid their online operation by relieving chief executive James Henderson of his duties.

Henderson left after more than 30 years with the company and has been replaced on an interim basis by chief financial officer Philip Bowcock.

Hills issued a profit warning last October and the firm’s share price has since plunged following another warning in March after the worst Cheltenham Festival for bookmakers in recent years.

Trend of mergers

Last year 888 Holdings attempted to merge with Bwin Party but lost out to rival GVC, though would be following a trend of mergers this year if completing the joint transaction.

Paddy Power and Betfair completed their merger to become Paddy Power Betfair in February this year while Ladbrokes and Gala Coral are awaiting clearance.

A statement issued by 888 Holdings and Rank Group said: “The consortium sees significant industrial logic in the combination, through consolidation of their complementary online and land-based operations, delivery of substantial revenue and cost synergies and from the anticipated benefits of economies of scale which will accrue to all shareholders.

“In relation to the proposed transaction, no decision has yet been taken as to whether 888 would be an offer or offeree company in respect of certain of the steps that may be taken in order to implement the proposed transaction.”

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