According to The Times, 888 Holdings won the auction of William Hill’s European business, with the winning bid totalling more than £2 billion.
After Bloomberg reported that CVC Capital Partners, the owner of sports betting firm Tipico, had dropped out of the race earlier this month, the online gambling group is said to have triumphed over Apollo Global Management, which lost out to Caesars Entertainment in a full buy-out of William Hill earlier this year.
Earlier this year, the US private equity firm was reported to be the front-runner in the bidding war, having been given access to the company’s books when competing with Caesars for the $4 billion (£2.9 billion) William Hill, despite numerous industry incumbents expressing an interest in securing some of the group’s retail portfolio.
888 would acquire William Hill’s complete retail high street betting store network, which is estimated to number roughly 1,400 in the UK and Ireland, as well as its European and British online betting and gaming activities.
Future of retail estate
It’s also worth noting that the future of the retail estate is still up in the air, with many businesses reportedly ready to pounce if the online gambling operator decides to sell those assets.
888’s CEO, Itai Pazner, had previously remarked on the company’s acquisition of William Hill assets, saying: “We have mentioned William Hill in the past, that could be something that we would be looking at. And I won’t change my comment on that.”
Caesars Entertainment stated on April 22, 2021, that it will complete its $4 billion (£2.9 billion) acquisition of William Hill, which it had planned to complete at the turn of the month.
The Nevada-based corporation had previously stated that it will sell William Hill’s European operations after the acquisition, citing a primary interest in merging the company’s American assets to strengthen its position in the developing US online sports betting and gaming sector.
Caesars has stated that the expanded gaming business may earn between $600 million and $700 million in net revenue this year, and that it expected to be active in 20 states by the end of the year.