888 targets June date to complete William Hill takeover

888 Holdings has moved a step closer to finalising its acquisition of William Hill’s UK and European assets, as the company’s shareholders approved the merger by a vast majority. 

Following the conclusion of its Extraordinary General Meeting, 888 revealed that 99.73% of shareholder votes cast were in favour of the takeover, representing 306,997,411. In contrast, 819,264 (0.27%) voted against, with the remaining 18,306 abstaining.

Finalisation of the acquisition is now expected ‘on or around’ 30 June 2022, alongside re-admission of 888’s share capital for listing on the premium listing segment of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) official list and to trade on the LSE main market. 

“We are delighted with the support of our shareholders for our proposed acquisition of William Hill and would like to thank them for their continued, constructive engagement as part of this process,” said Lord Mendelsohn, 888 Holdings Non-Executive Chairman.

“We look forward to completing this transformational acquisition at the end of June, creating a global online betting and gaming leader through the combination of two highly complementary businesses and two of the industry’s leading brands.”

888’s expected closing date to complete the merger falls inline with the timeline outlined in its prospectus last month, as the FTSE250 group moves to significantly enlarge its UK market footprint.  

From a fiscal perspective, 888 estimated that had the transaction been completed prior to 2021, the combined business would have closed 2021 with $2.1 billion in revenue and $437 million in EBITDA.

Completion of the transaction will mark the end of an eight months long M&A process, after 888’s £2.2 billion bid for the UK heritage bookmaker was accepted by Caesars Entertainment, seeing off competition from Apollo Global Management.

Final deal terms were revised in April, in light of changing macro-economic and regulatory circumstances, that saw deal makers agree to grant 888 receive a £250 million discount on the acquisition of the heritage betting group. 

Caesars had initiated the sell-off of William Hill International’s non-US assets shortly after completing its own £2.9 billion acquisition of the firm. The auction included all of Hill’s European and UK online and offline assets and its suite of retail holdings.

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