William Hill himself used to take bets over the phone from the famously nocturnal racehorse owner Dorothy Paget after the races had been run, because he knew she was a wild gambler and had no chance of finding out which horses had already won, at a time when there were no licenced betting shops, let alone live radio or television broadcasts or mobile phones*. 888 will be hoping it is on to a similar sure-fire winner with its acquisition of the European assets of the betting empire built by Mr Hill, says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“888 unsuccessfully tried to buy William Hill in 2016, as part of a complex three-way, £3 billion deal with Rank, when it nearly turned the tables on Hills, which had failed in a lunge for 888 the year before.
“888 will feel that patience has paid off, not least as the total bill this time is £2.2 billion. Moreover, the deal will hugely enhance 888’s size, share and competitive position, especially in the all-important online betting arena in regulated markets.
“In 2020, 888 recorded sales of $814 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $156 million. Including William Hill International’s assets takes those historic figures to $2.5 billion and $464 million.