William Hill rejects second 888 and Rank bid

William Hill shopfront

William Hill has rejected a second bid from 888 and Rank Group

  PICTURE: David Dew (racingpost.com/photos)  

 By Mark Scully 7:50AM 15 AUG 2016 

WILLIAM HILL on Sunday rejected a second joint-offer from 888 Holdings and the Rank Group to merge the three companies, saying the revised proposal continues to “significantly undervalue” the high street bookmaker.

The bid comes after William Hill firmly rejected an offer on August 8, with the only change from that £3.6 billion proposal being that the bookmaker’s shareholders would own 48.8 per cent of the new company.

After unanimously rejecting what it claims was a “highly opportunistic” new bid, William Hill’s board said it sees no merit in engaging with the 888 and Rank Group consortium.

The board added that the complicated three-way deal poses a significant risk for its shareholders.

Chairman Gareth Davis said: “This revised proposal continues to substantially undervalue the company and the cash element of the proposal has not changed. Therefore, the Board sees no merit in engaging.

“As we have said before, this is highly opportunistic and complex and does not enhance the strategic positioning of William Hill.

“The Board continues to believe we have a strong team to deliver superior value to our shareholders and trading at the start of the second half gives us renewed confidence in our stand-alone strategy.”

Earlier this month, William Hill released half-year figures showing an operating profit down 16 per cent at £131.1 million, compared to the same period in 2015.

The results came following 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.

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