William Hill Wants To Purchase Gambling Provider Sportingbet

21 December 2012 – By Huseyin Yilmaz

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William Hill and Playtech are two of the most important companies involved in the online casino market. The two major companies are partners in an online joint-venture named William Hill Online. In September, Britain’s biggest bookie, William Hill, which is working with Aim-listed GVC Holdings, submitted a 52.5p a share bid to Sportingbet by letter, which was unanimously rejected by the online bookie’s board. The £350 million bid would have seen William Hill put up 45p a share in cash while Sportingbet investors would have received the remainder in GVC paper.
After making an offer of £530 million, William Hill and junior partner GVC Holdings have decided to decrease the offer to £485 million, following prolonged negotiations for the business involving two suitors. William Hill and Sportingbet held talks about a revised offer over the weekend, after Sportingbet announced last week that it had suffered a 35 per cent fall in first-quarter revenues. This new deal means online casino operator William Hill can take over Sportingbet’s coveted Australian telephone and online gambling business, plus its growing Spanish operations. For William Hill, Sportingbet’s Australian business represents an opportunity to make inroads in an international market, free from the regulatory problems that exist in several parts of Europe.
But protest from online casino joint-venture partner Playtech could stop the deal in its tracks. The Hill - Playtech dispute will surely affect the acquisition of the betting firm, as Playtech argued that the purchase of Sporting bet would add considerable value to William Hill Online, in which the two are partners. Playtech’s discontent started when Hill took the first steps to buying out Playtech’s share when it asked a group of banks to value the software firms’ stake in their William Hill Online joint venture. And that is the reason why Playtech stated that the potential contribution of Sportingbet activities should be taken into consideration as part of any valuation to buy its share in the online joint-venture.

The British betting operator wants to take over full control of the web division, William Hill Online. The parties involved in this negotiation have agreed a further two-week extension for William Hill and GVC to finalize an agreed offer.

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