Tables Turned as 888 look to buyout William Hill

James Henderson has recently been relieved of his role as William Hill's head honcho after profit warnings and share price drops

In a dramatic role reversal 888 are looking to potentially tie up a deal to buy-out struggling UK gambling giant William Hill. This comes just a year and a half after William Hill had a £720m bid for 888 Holdings turned down.

In the intervening 18 months, the fortunes of the two gaming brands have changed significantly. While William Hill have seen dwindling profits, the recent ousting of CEO James Henderson, and a drop in their share value by 30%, 888 have seen their share price increase by a similar % with all aspects of their business doing well. With William Hill's stumbling block seeming to be their online offering, it's easy to see why 888 would be interested in the business what with their superb online track record.

Even so, a company the size of 888 Holdings is unlikely to make a successful bid for a behemoth such as William Hill and the takeover proposal has actually come from a joining of forces of 888 and Rank Group - owner of land based and online UK brand Grosvenor.

The consortium have a combined value of £1.7bn, still significantly less than the £3bn valuation of William Hill, but a partnership more than capable of pulling off such a deal if the terms would be agreeable and the circumstances right.

However, it is extremely early days to put too much store in the reality of anything happening. As the BBC have reported"William Hill said the approach was 'highly preliminary', while Rank and 888 said they had not yet made a formal offer to the bookmaker's board."


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