Online gambling company 888 Holdings has officially confirmed that it is currently in “advanced discussions” to purchase the European assets of William Hill. If the talks regarding the acquisition of William Hill’s business in Europe come to a successful conclusion, the deal would turn 888 in one of the largest online gambling companies in the UK.
The gambling and betting giant made the statement after there has been some recent speculation in the press and confirmed that its discussions with Caesars Entertainment Inc. over a possible takeover of the non-US assets of William Hill have progressed. Still, the operator noted there was no guarantee that the advanced discussions will necessarily result in a transaction and said it would make a further announcement when appropriate.
The announcement was also made by 888 Holdings after The Times reported that the British gambling operator had seen off its main competitor Apollo Global Management by having made a takeover offer worth over £2 billion. So, in case the figure reported by The Times is correct, such a deal would mean that the US casino operator Caesars Entertainment has managed to get back over two-thirds of the £2.9-billion price it paid for the British bookmaker in April 2021.
Caesars Entertainment Willing to Dispose of William Hill’s European Business
As Casino Guardian reported earlier, at the time it completed the transaction, Caesars Entertainment made it clear its intentions to only keep the US operations of William Hill, with the US gambling giant planning to dispose of the remaining assets of the company, including more than 1,400 high-street betting shops in the UK.
At the time when the bidding process closed a week ago, there were three potential suitors for the European assets of William Hill – Apollo Global Management, 888 Holdings and Betfred. This happened after the private equity company Tipico owned and operated by CVC Capital Partners left the competition.
Apollo Global Management had been considered the company that was most likely to win the competition for the non-US assets of William Hill, especially considering the fact that the firm had previously tried to acquire the British bookmaker before Caesars Entertainment did. Before taking over William Hill, Caesars already had a joint venture with the British gambling company in the US.
One of the main issues that remain unsettled is the one regarding the fate of William Hill’s high-street betting outlets.
Reportedly, Betfred, one of the biggest high-street gambling companies in the UK and a major rival of William Hill has been interested in taking over the latter’s betting shops. The high-street betting outlets of the British gambling operator have also been a subject of interest for BoyleSports, as the Irish betting company has been willing to expand its presence in the UK.
Currently, there are about 8,000 people employed in the UK business of William Hill. It, however, remains unclear whether 888 Holdings sees value in the high-street presence of William Hill considering the coronavirus closures disrupted the betting shop operations of the company. According to experts, 888 is likely to remain more focused on the online operations of the company, which currently include casino gambling and sports betting services.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.