Online betting group 888 in talks to buy William Hill’s European assets

Updates from 888 Holdings PLC

Online gaming company 888 has confirmed that it is in talks to buy the betting shops and European operations of William Hill, the UK bookmaker who was deprived in a £ 2.9 billion deal. sterling last year.

The London-listed company 888 said on Tuesday it was in “advanced discussions” with Caesars Entertainment, the new owner of William Hill, “about a possible acquisition of the international (non-US) business of William Hill.” .

US casino operator Caesars said at the time of its acquisition that it only wanted the UK bookmaker’s US business as it sought to expand its presence in the growing US sports betting market.

888 had been part of a three-way fight for William Hill’s European assets, which include 1,500 UK betting shops and online operations in countries like Italy and Spain.

Buyout firm CVC Capital Partners, former owner of William Hill, dropped out last week, leaving 888 and private equity group Apollo Global Management in contention for the 87-year-old bookmaker’s European business.

Apollo had attempted to buy all of William Hill last year, but backed off after Caesar’s threatened to pull out a joint venture it runs in the United States with the betting group if another bidder succeeds in buying the company. .

888’s approach to William Hill’s European assets values ​​them at nearly £ 2 billion, higher than rival bidders, according to a person familiar with the matter.

888, an online trader who has taken advantage of repeated lockdowns that have triggered an increase in gambling, has yet to confirm whether he plans to keep or sell William Hill’s physical stores.

After the industry went online during the pandemic as well as stricter gambling regulations in the UK, William Hill has closed more than 800 stores in the past two years.

888 added that there was “no certainty” that the discussions would result in a settlement.

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