888 Clears William Hill Takeover Hurdle

Posted on: November 30, 2021, 06:06h. 

Last updated on: November 30, 2021, 11:05h.

888 Holdings is a step closer to completing its acquisition of William Hill assets in Europe. As the gaming operator continues to cross hurdles toward the finish line, it just jumped a big one. 888 has received important regulatory clearances that will lead to the purchase finally closing.

William Hill
A William Hill shop that could become part of the 888 Holdings portfolio in the first quarter of 2022. (Image: BBC)

888 announced this morning that its purchase of William Hill’s non-US gaming assets had received antitrust and pre-completion approval from regulators. In terms of the time frame needed to complete a major gaming acquisition, this one is moving relatively quickly.

This transaction will create one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading technology, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth, supported by a portfolio of iconic brands,” states 888 CEO Itai Pazner.

It was only in September that the company revealed that it had reached an agreement with Caesars Entertainment to purchase the assets for about $3 billion.

The acquisition should be complete some time during the first quarter of next year, as long as no unexpected obstacles appear. However, that is “subject to satisfaction of remaining conditions to completion,” according to the announcement.

The company will have a slightly smaller footprint, however, as William Hill recently announced the closure of three online casino brands.

Executive Changes to Support Expanded Operations

The company is undertaking a few initiatives to support the acquisition and the subsequent inclusion of new operations.

An updated shareholder prospectus will be delivered early next year. This document is filed with the SEC and provides details about an investment offering for sale to the public.

The target for the funding totals is £500 million (US$667.3 million) in gross proceeds. The company plans to raise funds prior to the completion of the purchase, which will help cover some of the costs.

Shareholders will need to weigh in on that capital raise and the William Hill acquisition before the final paperwork can be signed. A general meeting will be scheduled to allow the vote, with the date to be provided some time early next year.

Provided the funding round is successful and the shareholders say yes, there are still other requirements to be met.

“Completion of the Acquisition is also conditional upon the Financial Conduct Authority’s approval of the re-admission of the ordinary shares of 888 to the premium listing segment of the Official List, and the London Stock Exchange’s approval of the re-admission to trading on the main market for listed securities, as well as the completion of a re-organization of the William Hill group to separate the US and non-US businesses of William Hill,” 888 explained.

Director to Oversee Integration

The process is being assisted by Guy Cohen. He has been tapped to be the company’s SVP, Director of Integration. Previously, Cohen was the SVP, Head of B2C for 888.

“The appointment of Guy Cohen to the critical role of SVP, Director of Integration, also strengthens our leadership and commitment to this important process, as we look to leverage the significant expertise and talent from both businesses to benefit the combined group,” Pazner added of Cohen’s appointment.