Not too long ago, rumours were circulating that William Hill had been approached by 888 Holdings with the intention of an acquisition. This concerned a few of us at Heads&Heads. William Hill are easily one of the better bookmakers out there, not just because of their offers but also in their comparatively relaxed approach to Matched Betting. 888 Holdings, on the other hand, are notoriously quick to crack down on Matched Bettors.
As such, the rejection of 888’s offer by William Hill has prompted a rather large sigh of relief. Buy outs and acquisitions are not new to the Gambling market. However, in most cases it actually ends up working in the Matched Bettors favour.
William Hill’s rejection of the deal (estimated to be worth £3.6 billion) was firm and we believe, final. According to the Financial Times, William Hill stated that the offer was ‘opportunistic’ and ‘undervalued’ their company.
William Hill then went one step further, stating that it “does not believe that a combination of William Hill with 888 and Rank will enhance William Hill's strategic positioning or deliver superior value for shareholders compared against William Hill's strategy.”
Strong words indeed. Perhaps not surprising given the history between the two companies. A year ago the roles were reversed, with William Hill attempting to acquire 888 for around £700 million. 888’s response to all this has been to question whether ego is blinding William Hill to a good deal. Given their past, such an assertion is probably not without merit. However, such public disputes often signal the end for any future deal.
Rank/888 have until 5pm on the 21st August to issue another offer. However, based on the spats now occurring on Twitter it looks like these heavy-weights will remain in their respective corners for now.