Industry analyst are awaiting William Hill Plc’s full-year 2016 results which will be published on Monday 9 January.
Following a year of woes for the FTSE-listed bookmaker, in which it had to issue an early profit warning following its first 2016 business quarter, industry commentators are eager to evaluate William Hill’s position coming into 2017.
Hindered by the digital decline of its online verticals, which saw James Henderson resign as Chief Executive last July, William Hill governance are expected to present investors further insights on the company’s performance turnaround.
As the first UK legacy operator to present its full-year 2016 results, William Hill governance faces a very different marketplace in 2017 following the consolidation and combination of numerous competitors (Paddy Power Betfair, Ladbrokes-Coral, GVC Holdings).
During 2016, William Hill had been at the centre of industry M&A speculation, with the company rejecting a three-way consortium bid made by Rank Group and 888 Holdings in August and a further end of year merger with Toronto TSX-listed Amaya Inc.
The constant speculation regarding the firm’s position has led to investor criticism of the company’s board. Following the failed Amaya merger proposal, William Hill’s governance was criticised by its largest investor Parvus (14% equity) of ‘time wasting’.
Seeking to sooth investor concerns, Chairman Gareth Davis has stated that the company has the ‘capabilities to overcome its digital woes’. In November the bookmaker carried out a tech-led governance restructure appointing John O’Reilly, (former Managing Director at Coral Interactive), Robin Terrell (former Chief Customer Officer at Tesco PLC) and Mark Brooker (former Chief Operating Officer at Betfair) as board advisors.
Further to its planned performance turnaround, William Hill investors will be keen to find out on progress relating to the appointment of a new CEO. Since Henderson’s departure, William Hill leadership being filled by interim-CEO Philip Bowcock, who joined the company last November as CFO from UK cinema chain ‘Cineworld’.
As yet FTSE operator has made no ‘formal offers’ to potential candidates, despite its board undertaking a six-month hunt for a new leader.