Hills resolute after takeover bid is abandoned
William Hill has reiterated its “clear plan” for a return to growth after the collapse of the 888 and Rank Group takeover bid.
The two operators yesterday (Thursday) announced they had abandoned their plan to create the UK's biggest gaming group through the acquisition of Hills after failing to “meaningfully engage with the board of William Hill”.
888 and Rank had two £3.1 billion (€3.6 billion/$4.0 billion) bids rejected, with William Hill’s board claiming they “significantly undervalued” the company. The board also had concerns over the levels of debt that would be accrued by a combined entity.
In a statement, William Hill chairman Gareth Davis said the company had made a promising start to the second half of 2016, and “expects operating profit for 2016 to be at the top end of the previously guided £260-280 million range”
“We will continue to focus our efforts on our strategy to deliver value for shareholders,” said Davis.
“The team has a clear plan to grow by diversifying digitally and internationally and four priorities to get us there.
“As demonstrated by the group’s half-year results published on Friday, 5 August 2016, three of William Hill’s four divisions are performing well and it is making good progress on its plan to improve Online performance across mobile Sportsbook, gaming and key customer journeys.”
Davis added that the group is continuing to focus on the four areas set out by interim chief executive Philip Bowcock, which are to “maintain the pace of Online’s turnaround; deliver the technology roadmap; drive increased efficiencies across the group; refocus the international growth and expansion”.
He added: “The revision to the operating profit guidance follows a process to validate the full-year expectations over the last three weeks and includes a better than expected Euro 2016 outturn and stronger growth in Retail’s gaming machine net revenue.
“In addition, management believe there are opportunities to benefit from increased efficiencies in certain areas of the business.”
Related article: Rank and 888 scrap William Hill takeover bid