William Hill confirm 888 and Rank Group approach

William Hill shopfront

William Hill: high street firm’s online division have been struggling

  PICTURE: David Dew  

WILLIAM HILL on Monday confirmed they received ‘a highly preliminary’ approach from 888 Holdings and Rank Group regarding a potential merger.

News emerged over the weekend that a £3 billion joint bid was being considered by 888 Holdings and Rank Group for the underperforming bookmaker.

Last week William Hill chief executive James Henderson was relieved of his duties as the firm seek to arrest their decline following profit warnings in October and March.

With talks at such an early stage, there are no concrete details regarding a possible transaction between the three companies.

Proposal would be considered

The William Hill statement read: “The consortium did not put forward a proposal or set out a position on price, timing, terms, form of consideration or transaction structure.”

However, their advances are not being dismissed, although greater clarification will be sought as the statement added: “The board of William Hill would listen to and consider any proposal which might be forthcoming from the consortium.

“However, it is not clear that a combination of William Hill with 888 and Rank will enhance William Hill’s strategic positioning or deliver superior value to William Hill’s strategy which is focused on increasing the group’s diversification by growing its digital and international businesses.”

The City reacted positively to the potential deal, with William Hill share prices rising 35 pence to 348.60 pence at 8.40am.


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