888 Group acquires William Hill for £1.95bn

Gambling group 888 Holdings has completed its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars for £1.95bn (€2.25bn/$2.35bn), and has announced changes to the group’s new leadership team.

888 Holdings had initially agreed to complete the acquisition in September 2021 of William Hill. This came soon after US operator Caesars acquired the entire William Hill business for approximately £2.90bn with the intentional to sell of their US assets.

The original agreed price for the deal was £2.2bn. After months of negotiation the price of the assets went down by £250m, with the cash portion of the deal now set at £584.9m instead of £834.9m.

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 today.

“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 (£2.13bn/€2.53bn) 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.

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