Online operator 888 and Rank expressed interest in a £3 billion merger that would include William Hill. As a result, shares in William Hill skyrocketed by five percent, while shares in 888 rose by about three percent. However, Rank’s shares did drop slightly by 0.5%.
Over the weekend, 888 and Rank expressed interest in merging with William Hill. The two firms said it sees the logic in merging their online operations and their land-based operations, as well as the delivery of revenues and benefits of economies that would accrue to their shareholders.
As for William Hill, the company said if a proposal was brought to them, then they would listen. They added that they would consider it too. William Hill did say that if a merger did happen, then they wouldn’t know if their strategic positioning would be an enhancement.
Recently, James Henderson stepped down as the chief executive of William Hill. He made the move after the company experienced a slide in sales, as well as profit warnings. William Hill said in May that their net revenues slid by three percent, while online sales fell by more than ten percent during the first quarter.
In 2015, William Hill made a bid to buy 888, but it failed. The company couldn’t agree on an offer price with one of the major shareholders. As for the possibility of William Hill merging with 888 and Rank, the two companies have until August 21 to announce that they want to make an offer for William Hill.
One person said the news about the two companies expressing interest in merging with William Hill shows how far William Hill has fallen. The person, Jason Holden at Liberum, said that the company is vulnerable because of the departure of its CEO, as well as because of the profit warning earlier this year and because of a turnover in senior operational management.
William Hill may be experiencing a slump in sales and woes in Management. However, if the company were to be acquired by 888 and Rank, then it may rebound. This is because the company is still the number two online and retail bookmaker in the United Kingdom and it is one of the most recognizable brands in the country.