William Hill Online

A deal was announced yesterday which will see William Hill Plc paying £424 million to Playtech Ltd in order to acquire the twenty nine per cent stake that the latter holds in William Hill Online, which was once a joint venture between the two companies. The site was formed in December 2008 when Playtech made an investment into the company to help it launch, but is now ready to move forwards on its own, according to spokespeople.
The company will now gain full ownership of their online casino games along with the bingo hall, poker room, and sports book that they run through the same service. It will mostly be funded by a £375 million fully underwritten rights issue, and shares in William Hill have already climbed five per cent overnight as a direct reaction to the news. They claim that having full ownership will give them more freedom as well as an opportunity to develop their full potential by enhancing all of the products that they offer. On the Playtech side of things, their shares fell two per cent following the announcement.
Ralph Topping is the chief executive of William Hill, and he had this to say: “Having been advised of the valuation of Playtech’s 29% interest, the Board has concluded that it is in the best interests of our shareholders to exercise our call option to assume full ownership of this attractive, high growth, high performing business.” They know what they are doing – and they seem to have a clear direction to go in, judging by these comments.
Representing Playtech was their chief executive, Mor Weizer, who had this to say: “William Hill Online has been an overwhelming success and has delivered a cash return to Playtech greater than 3.5 times its original investment, excluding software royalties in the four years since inception.” It is clear that they want to push the knowledge that they made a good investment here and have profited, to keep hold of confidence in their company and in what they can do in the lead up to this deal.

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