888 Holdings confirmed that it is one step closer to acquiring the international non-US assets of one of the most reputable betting operators, William Hill. After initially showing interest in October 2020, 888 has proceeded towards making vital steps in the takeover and it expects that the acquisition to be closed in the first quarter of 2022.
Pre-Completion Regulatory Clearances Have Been Secured
The FTSE250 gambling group has issued an update this morning in which it confirmed that pre-competition regulatory and mandatory antitrust clearances have been secured. As a result, the way towards finalizing the takeover of the international assets of William Hill has been paved.
888’s bid was a little over $2.9 billion (£2.2 billion) and it was confirmed on September 9. Previously, Caesars openly talked about its plans to sell all non-US divisions of William Hill after its acquisition was completed earlier in 2021.
After the regulatory clearances were secured, 888 updated its investors that it is making good progress on integration planning to finalize the takeover in Q1 of 2022. The process of planning included appointing the former SVP Head of B2C of 888, Guy Cohen, as the new SVP Director of Integration. Cohen was cooperating with a senior team at William Hill to advance preparations for the integration and was reporting to Itai Pazner, the CEO of 888 Holdings.
Pazner remarked by saying that this transaction will result in the creation of one of the best betting/gaming groups in the world, one that has groundbreaking technology, massive diversification and superior scale. Moreover, its platform will stimulate growth and will be supported by many iconic brands.
He went on to say that Cohen’s appointment as Director of Integration strengthens the company’s commitment and leadership to this vital process as 888 is looking to gain leverage from the massive talent and expertise of the two businesses and use them to provide the ultimate benefits to the combined group.
Additional Steps will Have to Be Takin Before the Full Acquisition
The merger’s full finalization depends on financial caveats, such as the green light of the re-admission of ordinary shares that 888 has to the premium listing segment of the Financial Conduct Authority’s official list.
The London Stock Exchange will also play a role in the process, as it has to approve both the re-admission to trading and the competition of the William Hill group’s reorganization. The bookmaker needs to separate its US and non-US entities as they are owned by two different conglomerates.
Finally, the consent of 888’s shareholders by ordinary resolution is also needed. The company aims to secure that at the next General Meeting as its ambitions are to publish a prospectus on the Acquisition and Capital Raise at the start of 2022.
The capital raise was previously set by 888 and it wants to issue new equity to generate more than $667 million (£500 million) in gross proceeds. Moreover, it’s expected to be finished before the William Hill takeover is completed.
Pazner saluted the fact that several important milestones towards the Acquisition completion have been crossed. With the strong progress that 888 has made, it expects the transaction to be completed in Q1 of 2022. Moreover, the company is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead of it as two complementary and powerful businesses are combined.
Even though William Hill’s acquirement is yet another step that will increase 888’s presence in the UK and internationally, it remains unknown whether it will continue to retain control over the retail outlets suite by its new subsidiary.