888 Holdings to Acquire William Hill from Caesars
Caesars made it clear after acquiring William Hill that it would sell off all its non-US assets. Now, it’s confirmed that the 888 Group, which owns popular UK bingo sites Costa Bingo and Wink Bingo, have won the auction.
The deal agreed will see 888 pay £2.2bn after Caesars paid £2.9bn for the entire William Hill operation earlier this year. 888 found itself up against competition which undoubtedly pushed up the final price. According to reports, bids were also made by Tipico, the German betting market leader that is owned by CVC Capital Partners (SkyBet’s former owner). Other bids came from Apollo Global Management, a private equity group, and the UK bookmaker, Betfred.
It wasn’t the first time that 888 had attempted to acquire William Hill, as back in 2016, together with the Rank Group, a bid of £3.1bn was offered. At the time, the William Hill board believed that this undervalued the business and so declined. We’re sure that the 888 Group would have preferred it this way rather than teaming up with the Rank Group back then.
Now that the acquisition has been confirmed by 888’s chief executive Itai Pazner, we get to see the agreements of the deal. It includes the whole William Hill International operation. The technology, all brands (William Hill, Mr Green, RedBet, etc.), and over 10,000 new colleagues.
It has been clear for some time that 888 was looking to diversify its revenue from being too casino-based. This acquisition of William Hill will help to balance the betting/casino revenue.
This is what 888’s Itai Pazner had to say: “As a result, the transaction critically enhances the scale and diversification of the business, particularly in betting.”
“The combination of 888’s technology and gaming-led business and William Hill’s sports-led business will create a really powerful and large business.”
We doubt that this is going to affect the bingo side of the business. William Hill Bingo will no doubt stay on Playtech’s Virtue Fusion bingo software. But, who knows maybe we’ll see Ruby Bingo relaunched as a new Dragonfish bingo site.
One threat that we can see is that 888’s business is heavily UK-focused, and this could be impacted later this year when details of the Gambling Act review come to light. It’s expected that there will be stricter affordability checks, reduced bonuses, and restrictions on VIP programs.
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