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William Hill rejects $4.16 billion takeover bid from 888 and Rank

The UK bookmaker rebuffed the offer as “not reflecting the inherent value of the business.”

Avi Shaked 888 - PR

 

UK bookmaker William Hill  has rejected a $4.16 billion (£3.2 billion) takeover bid from Israeli online gambling operator 888 Holding plc and Rank Group, the UK operator of Grosvenor casinos and Mecca bingo halls.

The bid was put by letter on Monday night and unanimously rejected today by William Hill’s board.

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William Hill chairman Gareth Davis said, “This conditional proposal substantially undervalues William Hill, is highly opportunistic and does not reflect the inherent value of the business.”

At £3.64 per share, the takeover offer was a 16% premium on the bookmaker’s share price. If the two compnies will raise their offer to pull off the highly ambitious deal, than 888 and Rank merge to form a new company ‘BidCo’ that would simultaneously offer to acquire William Hill. BidCo would take on £2.2 billion of debt to help finance the deal.

Last month 888 and Rank issued the following statement when teaming to consider a bid. “The consortium sees significant industrial logic in the combination, through consolidation of their complementary online and land-based operations, delivery of substantial revenue and cost synergies and from the anticipated benefits of economies of scale, which will accrue to all shareholders.”

In February 2015, William Hill offered to buy 888 but the controlling shareholders in the company, Shaked brothers held out for more than the £2 per share on offer, and today the 888 share price is worth £2.19.

Since then, William Hill  become vulnerable after its board last month ousted James Henderson, its chief executive of just two years, following his failure to revive the company’s struggling online division.

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