The online betting and gaming company has now confirmed press speculation on the interest in William Hill’s European operations after outbidding Apollo Global Management with an estimated bid of more than £2 billion, according to The Times.
“888 notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Caesars Entertainment regarding a possible acquisition of the international (non-US) business of William Hill,” said the company in a statement to the London Stock Exchange late Tuesday morning.
“There can be no certainty that these advanced discussions will result in a transaction,” clarified the Gibraltar-based company. “A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.”
William Hill’s non-US business was allegedly put up for sale a few months ago, in May, with a sale price estimated between £1.2 billion and £1.5 billion, although updated rumors put the final bids in a range over £1.7 billion.
Following the withdrawal of Advent International, the process to acquire William Hill’s assets saw Apollo, 888 and CVC Capital Partners competing to outbid each other. The CVC proposal was allegedly discarded last weekend.
William Hill, which counts with a chain of 1,400 betting shops in the UK and Ireland, was taken over in April by Caesars Entertainment in a deal valued at £2.9 billion. William Hill’s UK betting shops posted revenue down 30% last year, amid pandemic-related lockdowns.
However, the company reported positive results in Q4 2020, thanks to a stronger performance from its sport-betting business in UK and US. Revenue in said quarter was up 9% year-on-year, an improvement compared to a 9% fall in Q3.
888 has seen a 39% revenue increase for H1 2021, posting a record half-year revenue of $528 million. It saw over 50% UK revenue growth, boosted by favourable foreign exchange movements. This led the company to lift its revenue and earning expectations for the year.