888 receives regulatory approvals to move forward with William Hill acquisition

Online gambling group 888 Holdings has announced it has secured regulatory approvals for its takeover of William Hill’s non-US assets.

This comes after 888 confirmed it won the bid for William Hill’s non-US assets with a £2.2bn ($3bn) offer.

888 receives regulatory approvals

In an update this morning, 888 revealed it has secured mandatory antitrust and pre-completion gaming regulatory clearances, paving the way for finalisation of the takeover of William Hill’s non-US assets.

In April 2021, Caesars Entertainment completed its acquisition of William Hill in a £2.9bn purchase. The main target of the deal was William Hill’s US sports betting assets. 

From the moment the deal was announced back in September 2020, Caesars maintained it would hold onto the firm’s US assets and auction off the remaining UK and European assets. Caesars kicked off the bidding process for the unwanted assets back in May. 

On 9 September, 888 beat out the competition with a £2.2bn bid for William Hill’s UK and European assets.

Now that the deal has received regulatory approvals, 888 provided an update to investors that it has been “progressing well” on integration planning in order to complete the takeover in the first quarter of 2022.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, said: “This transaction will create one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading technology, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth, supported by a portfolio of iconic brands. The appointment of Guy Cohen to the critical role of SVP, Director of Integration also strengthens our leadership and commitment to this important process, as we look to leverage the significant expertise and talent from both businesses to benefit the combined group.

“I’m delighted that we have now checked off a number of important milestones towards completion of the Acquisition. Given the strong progress we have made, we now expect the transaction to complete in the first quarter of 2022 and are excited about the opportunities ahead of us as we combine two powerful and complementary businesses.”

More work to be done

Although the purchase has received regulatory approvals, it is still dependent on some financial caveats including approval of the re-admission of 888’s ordinary shares to the premium listing segment of the official list by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

On top of this, the London Stock Exchange must also approve the re-admission to trading on the main market for listed securities and the completion of a re-organisation of the William Hill group. This is because William Hill must separate its US and non-US businesses, which now have two different owners.

888 must also receive the full consent of its shareholders by ordinary resolution, which the gambling group hopes to secure at the next general meeting. As outlined in today’s update, 888 plans to publish a prospectus relating to the Acquisition and Capital Raise in early 2022.

The capital raise was previously announced by 888  with the goal of generating £500m in gross proceeds by issuing new equity. This is expected to be finished by the completion of the William Hill takeover.