June 15, 2023 3 min read

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Activist Investor HG Vora Reveals Stake in 888

HG Vora had previously held a stake below the disclosure threshold but increased its shareholding after the former GVC (now Entain) board directors, including former CEOs Kenny Alexander and Shay Segev, made their stake public

Activist investor HG Vora Capital Management has announced its stake in the gambling group 888, following the recent disclosure by a group of former executives from rival bookmaker GVC, currently rebranded as Entain. Financial Times reported that the New York-based fund revealed that it holds a 5.5% stake in 888, with shares owned directly by the fund and its head, Parag Vora. 

Consortium of Former Entain Executives Sparks Potential Shake-Up of 888

The emergence of both HG Vora and FS Gaming Investments, the consortium of former Entain executives, has set the stage for a potential shake-up of 888. The company’s stock price has struggled over the past year due to compliance issues and rising interest rates, which negatively impacted its £1.95 billion ($2.5 billion) debt-fueled deal to acquire William Hill.

Earlier this year, 888’s CEO, Itai Pazner, was dismissed when the board announced that £50 million ($63.3 million) of customer accounts had been frozen due to anti-money laundering failures. The accounts have since been reinstated. With the company currently being led on an interim basis by Chairman Lord Jon Mendelsohn, 888 is actively searching for a new CEO. 

FS Gaming Investments is not only advocating for a board seat but has also suggested that Kenny Alexander and Stephen Morana, both former Entain executives, could potentially lead the company.

HG Vora Capital Management supports the efforts to bring in a new management team at 888, with Alexander as the potential leader. 

HG Vora Capital Management’s Gambling Industry Investments

HG Vora Capital Management has a history of involvement in the gambling industry, having previously invested in US operators Penn National Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment before their merger in 2018. It also disclosed a 5% stake in William Hill shortly before its acquisition by Caesars Entertainment in 2020.

At the same time, insiders suggest that FS Gaming Investments’ main focus is on achieving a faster integration between 888 and William Hill to reduce costs and address the group’s £1.6 billion ($2 billion) debt. The consortium includes Lee Feldman, the former chair of GVC, investment bank B Riley Financial, and its investment chief Daniel Shribman. GVC acquired Ladbrokes in 2017 and has since rebranded as Entain.

Despite the challenges faced by 888, the company’s board remains confident in its long-term strategy to create value for shareholders. The company is committed to updating and engaging with all shareholders as it continues to focus on its strategic and operational priorities.

Just this week 888 Holdings completed the sale of its Latvian assets to Paf for €28.3 million ($30.6 million), allowing 888 to streamline operations and concentrate on strategic growth while Paf expands its presence in the Latvian market and solidifies its position in the region.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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