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888 and William Hill End Takeover Talks
- February 16, 2015 By Oliver Young -
The possible takeover talks of the online gambling operator 888 by another giant in the gambling industry, William Hill, has been ended. One of last week’s hot topics was the confirmation given by 888 that it had entered into negotiations with UK’s most popular bookmaker William Hill over a potential deal.
The chief executive officer of 888, Brian Mattingley, gave a statement saying that the company was “in good health” and that 888 “continues to trade comfortably in line with expectations.” In a separate statement William Hill explained that there was “significant difference of opinion on value with a key shareholder.”
According to BBC, the takeover would have valued approximately £750 million pounds, which is around €1 billion. The reports say that 888 was valued by William Hill 200 pence plus a 3 pence dividend per share. In any case, the talks are now officially over.
The Shares of 888 Grew Sharply After the Confirmation of the Talks
As the word for the possible takeover of 888 by William Hill hit the news, the shares of 888 Holdings grew sharply. Following the announcement, the shares rose for more than 20% for the company whose value is believed to be about £750 million.
The official statement by 888 was: “The board of the company confirms that it received an approach regarding a possible offer for the company by William Hill.” Soon after, the media have also reported that one of 888’s main investors was holding out for a better offer.
However, the sharp growth was followed by a sharp fall after the companies announced that the talks have ended. Instantly, the shares of 888 Holdings fell for 12%. The fall of 20.72 pence in this morning trade gave a final value of 150 pence per share. However, the news had a positive impact on William Hill’s shares which grew for 0.6%. When the start of the talks was confirmed, William Hill’s shares noted a fall of 4% to 373 pence.
The Shaked Family May Be the Reason for Terminating the Discussions
Even though the news about the possible takeover stirred the online gambling industry, the discussions were terminated very fast. According to some information, the reason for this was one of the biggest investors in 888 Holdings. That information was partially confirmed by the statement made by William Hill that the company had a significant difference of opinion with a key shareholder.
There have been guesses that William Hill was talking about one of the Israeli founders the Shaked family. Some media reported that the Shaked family wanted to get at least 300 pence per share, whereas the offer made by William Hill was 200 pence a share.
Many may wonder why the UK bookmaker giant William Hill wanted to take over his rival 888 Holdings, which also offers casino games, poker and sportsbook. However, those in the gambling business speculated that Will Hill wanted to benefit from 888 in-house technologies as well as cost saving and improved exposure to international markets.