William Hill sells Australia business to CrownBet

The governance of William Hill Plc has today disclosed that it has signed a binding agreement to sell its William Hill Australia division to CrownBet for AUS $300 million (€185 million).

The FTSE bookmaker had placed its William Hill Australia division under strategic review in January, as a result of the Australian government’s ban on credit betting and the likely introduction of a Point of Consumption tax in a number of states impacting the division’s profitability.

Last week, business news sources reported that CrownBet, the newly acquired subsidiary of Toronto TSX-listed The Stars Group Inc, would compete in an auction against FTSE100 operator Paddy Power Betfair for William Hill’s Australian business.

Active in the market since 2012, William Hill is reported to have invested AUS $700 million (£450 million) on its Australian expansion, acquiring the online assets of Sportingbet.com.au. Centrebet and TomWaterhouse.com

Led by industry veteran Matt Tripp, Crownbet seeks to become Australia’s number 1 online gambling destination, in market that could soon compact in the number of competitors.

Confirming the transaction Philip Bowcock, William Hill’s Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“We are pleased to announce the sale of William Hill Australia to CrownBet. The disposal follows a strategic review of the Business, launched in January after its profitability came under increased pressure due to the recent credit betting ban and the likely introduction of a Point of Consumption tax.

The disposal will allow William Hill to focus on continuing to grow our UK Online and US businesses, particularly as we prepare for the decision on the PASPA appeal due in 2018.”

The disposal is expected to complete following regulatory approvals from the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Northern Territory Racing Commission, which William Hill expect will be obtained in a timely manner. An announcement confirming completion will be issued in due course.

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