888 completes $2.35bn acquisition of William Hill assets

by igamingbusiness

Online operator 888 has completed its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars for $2.35bn (€2.25bn), and has announced the group’s new leadership team.

888 had initially agreed in September 2021 to acquire the non-US business of William Hill. This came soon after US operator Caesars acquired the entire William Hill business for approximately £2.90bn, with the intent to dispose of all but its US assets.
Originally, the purchase price for the deal was $2.65bn. However, 888 and Caesars agreed to reduce the purchase price to acquire the assets by $300m.
Caesars Entertainment, Inc. announced the closing of the sale of the non-US assets of William Hill to 888 Holdings Plc. After the repayment of debt and other working capital adjustments, Caesars received net proceeds of $730 million. Caesars intends to use the net proceeds to reduce outstanding indebtedness.

This, it said, was due to a “change in the macro-economic and regulatory environment”, but at the time it also revealed that the William Hill business’ licence to operate in Great Britain was under review.
After receiving shareholder approval last month, the deal has now closed.
“I am delighted to announce the completion of our transformational combination with William Hill,” 888 chair Itai Pazner said. “We have built an outstanding leadership team, combining strengths from across both businesses, and as I look at the future, the combination of our product and content leadership, powered by our proprietary technology, and our world class brands, gives us a powerful platform for growth.”
888 chair Lord Mendehlson noted that the combined business will be one of the world’s largest online gambling operators. The new group would have recorded revenue of $2.68bn in 2021, but recorded a net loss of $368.5m.

“This combination brings together two high quality businesses to create a powerful, global betting and gaming business,” he said. “We believe the acquisition will create significant value for shareholders, creating a combined business with leading technology, products and brands across sports betting and gaming. With a top quality management team, formed from talent from across both businesses, I am confident about our future plans.”
As revealed previously, Pazner will remain chief executive of the business post-merger, while William Hill’s former chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson will leave the business. William Hill chief financial officer Eric Hageman will also be departing.
“I’d like to thank Ulrik and Eric for the great job they have done at William Hill and I wish them well for the future,” Pazner added.
Similarly, 888’s chief financial officer Yariv Dafa, chief operating officer Guy Cohen and chief strategy officer Vaughan Lewis will also keep their titles.
William Hill’s chief people officer Mark Skinner and chief product and technology officer Satty Bhens will move into those roles at the new business.
Meanwhile, the business has announced Harinder Gill as its new chief risk officer, coming from fintech business Revolut.

William Hill started his business in 1934, travelling on a motorbike, taking bets in the local area of Birmingham. Continuing the innovative spirit of the founder, William Hill have grown into an international and multi-brand business which, in 2022, was acquired by 888 Holdings plc, one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming companies.

888 Holdings plc (and together with its subsidiaries, “888” or the “Group”) is one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming companies. 888’s mission is to lead the gambling world in creating the best betting and gaming experiences, bringing unrivalled moments of excitement to people’s day-to-day lives by developing state-of-the-art technology and products that provide fun, fair and safe online betting and gaming entertainment to customers around the world. 888 has been at the forefront of the online gaming industry since its foundation in 1997, leveraging its proprietary technology to create an innovative and world-class online betting and gaming experience.

Caesars Entertainment, Inc. is the largest casino-entertainment company in the US and one of the world’s most diversified casino-entertainment providers. Since its beginning in Reno, NV, in 1937, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions. Caesars Entertainment, Inc.’s resorts operate primarily under the Caesars®, Harrah’s®, Horseshoe®, and Eldorado® brand names. Caesars Entertainment, Inc. offers diversified gaming, entertainment and hospitality amenities, one-of-a-kind destinations, and a full suite of mobile and online gaming and sports betting experiences. All tied to its industry-leading Caesars Rewards loyalty program, the company focuses on building value with its guests through a unique combination of impeccable service, operational excellence and technology leadership.

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