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888 completes sale of Latvian business

| By Robert Fletcher
888 has finalised the sale of its Latvian business to Paf Consulting, just weeks after striking an agreement to offload the assets.
Latvia 888

In May, 888 announced that it had agreed a deal to sell the business to Paf for up to €28.3m (£24.3m/$30.6m).

Paf agreed to pay an initial €24.0m in cash up front upon completion, with a further €4.3m due in 2024 following the conclusion of 2023 audited financials.

The Latvian business operates with a local licence under 888’s William Hill and Mr Green brands. 888 will provide a brand licence to continue the usage of these brands within Latvia for a limited period.

888 owns 90% of the entity. However, the business operates largely as an independent entity, with its own management team and on a separate technology platform. 

The sale of the Latvian business marks another positive step in the execution of our integration programme,” 888 executive chair Lord Mendelsohn said.

“This sale generates cash proceeds from a non-core market to support our deleveraging plans, as well as enabling reinvestment into our core and growth markets.”

FS Group investment 

The sale comes after last week it was revealed that FS Group, an investment vehicle backed by former GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander, had taken a 6.57% stake in 888.

FS Group took a 4.55% holding in the group. The remaining 2.02% holding was transferred by Shay Segev, Alexander’s successor, before GVC’s name change to Entain.

A total of 9,063,313 of 888 ordinary shares priced at £0.005 each were transferred by Segev. FS Group secured another 20,418,036 to take its total holding to 29,481,349.

Other individuals that also hold memberships interests in FS Group include Lee Feldman, the former chairman of GVC, Stephen Morana, Daniel Shribman and B Riley Principal.

Changing of the guard

The investment marked the latest major development at 888 in 2023. The year began with the announcement that Itai Pazner was to leave his role as chief executive in January.

This came in the wake of the group revealing failings in AML and KYC processes for customers in the Middle East. Lord Mendelsohn remains as interim executive chair while search for a permanent replacement continues.

In July 2022, the group completed its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars for £1.95bn. Despite taking on £1.70bn in debt as a result, 888 was able to perform in line with expectations in the 2022 financial year. 

The business recorded a 74% increase in revenue to £1.24bn, as well as an adjusted EBITDA rise of 82% to £217.9m. However, once the revenue impact of the William Hill acquisition is taken into account, the company saw organic revenue decline 3% compared to 2021.

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