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Business News

Online player 888 nears victory in race for William Hill’s UK operations

today07/09/2021

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William Hill’s UK operations are close to being snapped up by online player 888 Holdings following an auction ordered by the company’s US owner.

William Hill’s non-US activities, including its 1,400+ shops and web-based activities in the UK, were up for grabs in the contest which was initiated by Caesars Entertainment after it acquired the firm in a £2.9bn deal last year.

Sky News had reported in July how there were understood to be four players left in the race: 888, Betfred, Apollo Global Management and Germany’s Tipico.

William Hill was founded in 1934 and has expanded its interests beyond sports betting to online gambling. Pic: WH
Image: William Hill was founded in 1934 and has expanded its interests beyond sports betting to online gambling. Pic: WH

888 revealed on Tuesday that it was in “advanced discussions” with Caesars but cautioned there was no certainty of a deal.

It released the statement shortly after a report by The Times that 888 had beaten off Apollo in the last round and was to pay more than £2bn.

The sale had been expected to generate proceeds for Caesars of above £1.5bn.

888 shares were more than 2% higher on the news.

More from Business

It is unclear whether the company sees value in William Hill’s high street presence given COVID-19 disruption to store operations and the regulatory crackdown on controversial industry-wide activities such as fixed-odds betting terminals.

There are 8,000 people employed in the business in the UK.

888 is most likely to have been focused on the web operations, which include a sportsbook and casino.

The William Hill name dates back to the 1930s, when its eponymous founder launched the business as a postal and telephone-based betting service.

It opened its first betting shops in 1966, five years after their presence on high streets became legal.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News


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