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Online betting firm 888 (888) seeks £500m for William Hill arm

By Angela Barnes

10:09, 30 November 2021

Exterior view of a William Hill bookmakers' shop in Leeds, UK
Online betting company 888 plans takeover of William Hill’s non-US arm in early 2022 – Photo: Shutterstock

Online betting and gaming company 888 Holdings has announced an update on the acquisition of the non-US business arm of William Hill, and confirmed it expects to raise approximately £500m (€587.6m, $666.8m) of gross proceeds by issuing new equity via a capital raise, which is currently expected to occur before the completion of the acquisition. 

The group also said on Tuesday that all mandatory antitrust and gaming regulatory clearances had been received, and that completion was expected to take place in the first quarter of next year, subject to satisfactory completion of any remaining conditions.

“Alongside efforts to ensure completion in Q1 2022, the group has also focused on integration planning, which is progressing well,” a company statement said.

“The group has appointed Guy Cohen as SVP [senior vice president], director of integration, to work alongside a senior team from William Hill to advance integration preparations. Guy formerly served as SVP, head of B2C at 888, and will continue to report to Itai Pazner, CEO,” the company added. 

Conditions to complete

The business said there are several remaining conditions to fulfil prior to completion, most notably the approval of 888’s shareholders by ordinary resolution.

“The group currently expects to publish a combined circular and prospectus for the acquisition and capital raise, including the notice of general meeting, in early 2022,” it said.


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It noted that completion of the acquisition was also conditional upon the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) approval of the readmission of the ordinary shares to the premium-listing segment of the Official List nd the London Stock Exchange’s approval of the readmission to trading on the main market for listed securities, as well as the completion of a reorganisation of the William Hill group to separate the company’s US and non-US businesses.

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Chief executive’s comments

Itai Pazner, 888’s chief executive, commented on the purchase: “This transaction will create one of the world's leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading technology, increased diversification and a platform for strong growth, supported by a portfolio of iconic brands.

“The appointment of Guy Cohen to the critical role of SVP, director of integration also strengthens our leadership and commitment to this important process as we look to leverage the significant expertise and talent from both businesses to benefit the combined group.

“I’m delighted we have now checked off a number of important milestones towards completion of the acquisition. Given the strong progress we have made, we now expect the transaction to complete in the first quarter of 2022, and are excited about the opportunities ahead of us as we combine two powerful and complementary businesses.”

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