888 Holdings: more than just a casino

From the outset, I think it necessary to remind you what 888 Holdings is in the world of gambling. First, it’s an online casino that lets you play Australia’s best slot machines (https://online-casinoau.com/pokies/) and earn real money from it. Secondly, it is a bookmaker that allows punters from all over the world to bet on their favorite sports. And finally, it’s a way to make money. Have you ever wondered what owners in Australia’s gambling industry look like?

888 Holdings has confirmed its acquisition of William Hill International for £2.2bn and declared its commitment to retaining 1,400 betting shops. Las Vegas-based Caesars has controlled William Hill since last year when shareholders agreed to a $3.7bn (£2.7bn) takeover deal, but the US giant has made no secret his interest in the 87-year-old British company. The brand, its bookmakers and its online operations outside the United States.

Instead, Caesars was eager to buy William Hill’s expertise in the lucrative UK sports betting industry, with sales of £2.3 billion a year, to help it break in. the rapidly growing US market after the Supreme Court overturned a long-standing ban on sports betting in 2018. Its loss of enthusiasm for anything other than profitable growth has led to a buying battle for unwanted properties outside the United States, including Apollo Capital Management, CVC Capital Partners and 888.

On Thursday, 888 said it won the competition to buy the remainder of William Hill and said it expects to complete the deal in early 2022, subject to shareholder approval. According to the company, investors holding a 47% stake in 888 have already cleared the purchase with either an expression of support or an irrevocable commitment. 888 Holdings, formed by Israeli tech startups, specializes in online casino games but said it has no plans to transfer traditional sports betting to William Hill and has previously turned down offers.

“We’ve seen interest in commercial properties from outside, but we see retail as a critical part of William Hill’s value,” said Itai Pazner, CEO of 888. William’s network of stores Hill has already fallen from 2,333 in 2018 to around 1,400 today, a process accelerated by the influence of Covid on the high street and the detrimental impact of the decline in fixed odds gaming terminals.

“They currently manage another well-located retail property in prime locations,” Pazner added. “We intend to retain the retail stores and the great people who work there.”

Betfred, William Hill’s main rival, has reportedly been interested in acquiring the traditional stores in a deal that would nearly increase the size of its UK chain. Given the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the government’s major review of gambling legislation, which is expected to result in a crackdown, Pazner said 888 was ready to make the purchase.

Amid regulatory uncertainties, he said the merger made “even more sense” since a larger company would be better able to cope with the changes. Online casino products are set to be reformed, with ministers considering measures such as a £2 cap on betting on virtual video slots under FOBT regulations.

Since at least 2016, when it partnered with convenience store owner Rank in an effort to form several mergers, 888 has been looking to merge with William Hill. After William Hill bid £700million for 888 in 2015, the failed purchase was a game-changing attempt.

888 Holdings said in a statement the purchase will result in synergy savings of £10m next year and up to £100m a year by 2025. The company has raised £2.1bn of debt to complete the transaction and said it would issue £500m of fresh capital to reduce the leverage of the deal.

AJ Bell chief investment officer Russ Mold said the acquisition “will catapult 888 into the big leagues,” hypothetically boosting sales from $814 billion to $2.5 billion and base earnings by $156 million to $464 million. He also pointed out that the gambling landscape in the UK has changed dramatically over the past few decades.

William Hill International is bought by 888 for £2.2 billion. What conclusions can we draw? It’s true, they are evolving and their goal is not just to make money for their customers. Have you wondered? Then check out the 888casino review at online-casinoAU.com. It is a company that is rated according to the clearest criteria and all its strengths and weaknesses are detailed.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes