William Hill reject 3.6 billion merger offer

William Hill shopfront

William Hill: subject to merger offer on Tuesday

  PICTURE: David Dew (racingpost.com/photos)  

 By David Baxter 5:15PM 9 AUG 2016 

WILLIAM HILL have firmly rejected a joint-offer from the Rank Group and 888 Holdings to merge with the high street bookmaker, stating the bid “substantially undervalues” the firm.

The complex proposal valued Hills at £3.6 billion, and would have comprised a merger of the Rank Group and 888, forming new company BidCo, that would have then acquired Hills for a combination of cash and BidCo shares.

However, the proposal was considered too complicated and high-risk by the Hills board, and they unanimously rejected it on Tuesday.

In a statement the firm’s chairman Gareth Davis said: “This conditional proposal substantially undervalues William Hill, is highly opportunistic and does not reflect the inherent value of the business.

“It is a very complex three-way combination at a low premium involving substantial risk for William Hill shareholders: execution risk, integration risk and risks of materially increased leverage. The group has a strong team to deliver against our strategy to grow our digital and international businesses so we strongly advise that shareholders take no action.”

Last week Hills released their half-year figures, with operating profit down 16 per cent at £131.1 million, compared to the same period in 2015.

The bookmaker has endured a troubled year, with James Henderson relieved of his duties as chief executive in a bid to arrest the firm’s decline following a profits warning.

Although hitting a high of 341.80 at 11.13 on Tuesday morning, shares in William Hill at time of close on Tuesday were up 0.49 per cent from its opening price at 329.00 pence.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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