William Hill rejects ‘risky’ Rank-888 consortium bid

Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies

The board of William Hill Plc has moved to reject the £3.3 billion takeover bid proposed by the strategic consortium of Rank Group and 888 Holdings.

Quick to reject Rank and 888’s offer which was formally issued this afternoon, William Hill governance stated that the proposed deal ‘substantially undervalued’ its corporate enterprise, choosing not to forward the bid to its investors.

Advised by Citi Group and Barclays, William Hill governance stated that it ‘unanimously rejected the Proposal’, further noting that it saw no enhanced value in merging its operations with Rank and 888 assets.

William Hill would further detail concerns regarding a ‘complicated three-way combination’ which would be leveraged by approximately £2.2 billion in refinanced debt, in order to complete the deal.

Updating the market, Gareth Davis, Chairman of William Hill declared

“This conditional proposal substantially undervalues William Hill, is highly opportunistic and does not reflect the inherent value of the business.  It is a very complex three-way combination at a low premium involving substantial risk for William Hill shareholders: execution risk, integration risk and risks of materially increased leverage. The Group has a strong team to deliver against our strategy to grow our digital and international businesses so we strongly advise that shareholders take no action.”

The UK gambling industry now awaits whether the Rank and 888 will move to make a further bid for William Hill, or whether the consortium parties will merger separately.

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