Rank and 888 have confirmed that they no longer plan to engage in negotiations or to bid for the acquisition of William Hill. The companies stated that despite seeing merit in their proposals, the William Hill board was not interested in engaging in discussions.
William Hill rebuffed the original proposal from the two companies who then made a second bid which was also rejected. William Hill’s view was that the bids undervalued the company.
“We are disappointed that the board of William Hill did not share our vision of the combined businesses,” stated Itai Frieberger, chief executive of 888. “We believe that there was compelling industrial logic for the combination of these highly complementary businesses, which in our view would have brought scale, diversification and strong revenue and cost synergies, from which all shareholders would have benefitted.”
Rank shared this sentiment with chief executive Henry Birch reiterating the belief that the deal would have been positive for the shareholders of all three companies. However, in light of William Hill’s response, the companies have guaranteed to remain committed to increasing returns for their shareholders.
However, William Hill chairman Gareth Davis said that three of William Hill’s four business sectors were performing well and the company is progressing with its plan to strengthen its online division across gaming, sports betting and key customer journeys.
“We will continue to focus our efforts on our strategy to deliver our value for shareholders,” stated Davis. “The team has a clear plan to grow by diversifying digitally and internationally and four priorities to get us there.”
“We have had a good start to the second half of the year and the board now expects operating profit for 2016 to be at the top end of the previously guided £260-280m.”