The UK’s largest bookmaker, William Hill, spent the last few months negotiating a takeover of Sportingbet, another British online gambling operator. Sportingbet’s board of governors agreed to a preliminary round of negotiations with William Hill last October, and the purchase arrangement was finally agreed to yesterday in the amount of £460 million ($676 million).
As the largest bookmaker on the British Isles, William Hill is a well-established betting operator with over 2,400 betting shops across the UK. The company also maintains one of the most active online sportsbetting domains, and is a leading developer of mobile and social gambling applications.
William Hill spent the last few years focused on expanding its operations beyond its traditional gambling hub across the British Isles. Early in 2012, the company reached licensing agreements with the Spanish and Italian gambling regulators so their players could access William Hill online. The company completed partial ownership agreements last summer in three Las Vegas based gambling shops, after Nevada legalized online poker within the state. As a result, William Hill became the first British based bookmaker to acquire an online gambling license in Nevada.
The Sportingbet arrangement was mainly attributed to the company’s success in Australia, a market that remained elusive to William Hill for years. CEO Ralph Topping says with Sportingbet now under the William Hill umbrella, the British operator has a well-respected brand and a market leading position to grow its business in the land down under.
“Australia is one of the largest licensed betting markets in the world where William Hill does not have a footprint. We have particular skills in those areas of the market that are demonstrating strong growth – online, mobile, fixed odds betting and sports betting.”
Sportingbet CEO Michael Sullivan says the Sportingbet management team will continue to operate as a part of William Hill, and all applications will remain the same for players.