A bid for bookmaking giant William Hill is in the make by 888 Holdings and Rank Group who have teamed up.
Now while the iron is still hot, the two companies have decided to strike. After the ousting of its CEO, James Henderson by the board last week, William Hill has been left vulnerable. James Henderson apparently failed to improve the online operations of the company.
888 could plug this particular hole with its technical talent in house. For a reported £750 million William Hill tried to acquire 888 last year, where the tables have completely turned now. A major shareholder however vetoed the takeover after which the deal fell through. 888 was outbid by GVC Holdings in acquiring of bwin.party.
The Rank Group is now purely a gambling group after once being one of the largest film producer and distributor in the UK.
Expected Bid: $4 Billion
Over the past year there has been a spate of consolidation within the industry after Europe has been faced with increased taxation and regulation, with gambling giants as Ladbrokes and Coral merging, as well as Paddypower and Betfair.
When The Times ran a story reporting rumors of the planned takeover bid, 888 and Rank were forced to issue an official statement as it was now understood they have been in private discussions for a number of weeks but have not yet approached William Hill.
‘The Bid, when it arrives, is expected to value William Hill at around £3 billion. 888 and Rank have combined market cap of around £1.7 billion against William Hill at £2.7 billion.’
The official statement read:
‘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.’
The following day William Hill issued a dismissive response which indicates they’re playing hard to get.
‘The board of William Hill would listen to and consider any proposal which might be forthcoming from the consortium,” it said. “However, it is not clear that a combination of William Hill with 888 and Rank will enhance William Hill’s strategic positioning or deliver superior value to William Hill’s strategy which is focused on increasing the group’s diversification by growing its digital and international businesses.’