It seems that the tables have turned for William Hill and 888. Namely, if more than a year ago the popular bookmaker tried to take over 888 for £744 million, now the gaming group alongside Rank Group wants to acquire William Hill.
The consortium between the Rank Group, which operates Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos, and 888 creates a gaming group worth £2 billion, which reportedly is ready to pay up to £3 billion to purchase William Hill. If an agreement is reached, then the deal would involve the finest names in the UK gaming industry i.e. the largest casino and bingo operator that stands behind 60 gaming properties and 90 bingo halls, one of the top online betting operators and the biggest bookmaker that operates 2,370 shops.
In a statement, the new partners 888 and Rank said that the Consortium was seeing “significant industrial logic in the combination.” They also pointed out that by combining their land-based and online operations the Consortium would deliver “substantial revenue and cost synergies.”
Moreover, the statement highlighted that there still hadn’t been made a formal bid as well as they reminded that there wasn’t any certainty that a transaction would take place for sure.
On the other hand, William Hill did confirm that the company had been approached by a possible buyer. According to what they have stated, the board of the bookmaker was ready to listen to and consider any proposal coming from the Rank and 888 Consortium. The group also expressed doubts that joining Rank and 888 would enhance its strategic positioning on the market.
In 2015, William Hill placed a bid for 888, but the companies failed to agree on the final price. Ever since, the UK betting and gaming market witnessed several major changes after Ladbrokes merged with Gala Coral and Betfair joined forces with Paddy Power. 888, on the hand, missed its chance to take over Bwin.party, which was acquired by GVC Holdings instead.