February 17, 2015

William Hill end takeover talks with 888, bwin.party next?

William Hill has pulled out of talks to acquire 888 Holdings because the UK largest bookie feels the price that 888 were asking for was too high.

The news of the collapsed talks was announced by 888: “Due to a significant difference of opinion on value with a key stakeholder, it has not been possible to reach agreement on the terms of a possible offer and the Board of the Company has agreed with William Hill to terminate discussions.”

Brian Mattingley, chief executive of 888, said: “The Company is in good health and continues to trade comfortably in line with expectations.”

At first William Hill valued the company at £720 million, at 203p-a-share along with a 3p dividend but it is understood at least one major shareholder believed the online gambling firm was worth significantly more. News of the failed talks drove down 888 shares by 16%.

888 Holdings began life in 1997 by founding brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked, and Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak .The two families’ trusts continue control around 60% of the company.

Some observers now believe that William Hill may turn their attention to bwin.party entertainment who are rumoured to be in talks of a takeover back in November of last year, but no new developments have taken place since then.

It is understood William Hill sees the future with consolidation and now with 888 Holdings out it could very well be the turn of bwin.party.

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