The acquisition of William Hill International, the non-US assets of William Hill Caesars agreed to sell to 888 Holdings, is now set to close by the end of June following 888’s shareholder approval today.
Landslide Shareholder Approval
Gibraltar-based online gambling group 888 Holdings held its extraordinary general meeting in London today and saw over 99% of shareholder votes in favor of the acquisition deal. Only 0.27% of the votes, 819,264, were against the deal while 18,306 votes were withheld.
Commenting on the news, 888 Holdings’ chairman Lord Mendelsohn outlined the board’s content at the overwhelming shareholder support for the deal and thanked the company’s shareholders for their “continued [and] constructive engagement” along the process.
“We look forward to completing this transformational acquisition at the end of June, creating a global online betting and gaming leader through the combination of two highly complementary businesses and two of the industry’s leading brands.”
Lord Mendelsohn, Chairman, 888 Holdings
Following the £2.9 billion acquisition of William Hill by Caesars Entertainment in April 2021, the US casino giant announced it would only retain William Hill’s business in the US and would be selling the non-US assets of the operator.
Fending Off Competition
William Hill’s non-US assets attracted interest from gambling groups 888 Holdings, Betsson and Kindred, as well as from investment fund Apollo Global Management, but the Gibraltar-based online gambling firm beat the competition with a £2.2 billion offer in September.
888 Holdings announced it would be financing the deal with new debt of £2.1 billion and by issuing new shares to raise approximately £500 million.
In April, Caesars announced the parties agreed to revise the price consideration of the transaction by £250 million to reflect the “change in the macro-economic and regulatory environment” since the deal was initially agreed, pushing the end price down to between £1.95 billion and £2.05 billion.
Alongside the price reduction, the news that William Hill was under license review by the UK Gambling Commission hit the wires. The regulator launched the probe over alleged violations of the operator’s social responsibility and anti-money laundering obligations and William Hill had to put aside £15 million in case any financial sanction would be imposed.
The acquisition of William Hill International will mark 888 Holdings’ entry into retail sports betting via William Hill’s network of over 1,400 betting shops in the UK. 888 already announced it would maintain the brand for the betting shops to “continue the heritage of the William Hill brand.”