888 shareholders voted in favor of their company’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets. [Image: Shuttterstock.com]
Shareholders’ approval of the takeover
888 Holdings shareholders have approved the company’s proposed 1.95 billion pound ($2.43 billion) acquisition of William Hill International from Caesars.
99.79% of shareholders preferred the acquisition
At a meeting in London on Monday, 99.79% of shareholders favored the buyout. 888 United States President Howard Mittman took to Twitter the same day to share news of the unanimous shareholder approval:
Lord Mendelson, the non-executive chairman of the gambling operator, expects the transaction to be completed by the end of June. On Monday, 888 described it as “delighted” with its shareholders’ support for the proposed acquisition.
change in price
888 first agreed to buy William Hill’s non-US business from Caesars in a £2.2 billion ($3.04 billion) deal in September 2021. Fast forward a few months, and Monday’s news comes with a change in math. That’s because in April 2022, 888 announced that Caesar had lost 250 million pounds ($311 million) in price.
Change in the macroeconomic and regulatory environment”
Racing Center CHe reasoned lower prices as a “change in the regulatory and macroeconomic environment” since September 2021. According to the publication, the value of the William Hill acquisition “has fallen to between £1.95 billion ($2.43 billion) and $2.05 billion ($2.55 billion)”.
UK listing rules classify the purchase of a William Hill company as a reverse acquisition. This means that 888 shares will be canceled and re-listed on the London Stock Exchange on or around 30 June.
Shares at 888 Holdings were trading at 192.35p per share in London on Tuesday, up 8.7% from a 52-week low of 175.6p hit May 6.
What next, William Hill?
Caesars Entertainment bought William Hill for 2.9 billion pounds ($3.61 billion) in April 2021. By August, the new owner had renamed the US-facing sports business side. 888 eventually beat out other bidders, such as stock company Apollo and parent company Tipico, CVC Holdings, to take over the international assets.
Monday’s announcement means 888 is expanding into retail betting for the first time with the acquisition of William Hill’s 1400+ network of sports betting stores.
In the The results of the emergency general meeting were published on MondayLord Mendelsohn said 888 was looking to finalize the “transformational acquisition” of William Hill International at the end of June.
The William Hill Group is also preparing for a costly financial penalty over allegations of anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures. The London-based company, which is subject to ongoing licensing review by the UK Gambling Commission, announced in April that it would set aside 15.0 million pounds ($18.69 million) to cover the cost of fines.