CEO of 888 Holdings says purchase of William Hill failed because of press leaks

Thomas
Giles

In an interview with Bloomberg, 888 Holdings CEO Itai Frieberger said that a leak in the media was one of the main reasons for the failure of the £3.1bn deal to buy William Hill by his company.

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A few hours before the 888 Holdings and Rank Group announced their interest in buying William Hill on July 24, the details of the deal were reported in the British Sunday Times newspaper. As a consequence, companies are under constant pressure and are unable to avoid attention from the public and the media.

“The leak didn’t allow us to have a conversation behind closed doors. That’s one of the root causes of why we couldn’t progress it. Before we could make a call to William Hill, it was all over the press. That is very unfortunate.” said Itai Frieberger

Recently, the British market has been subject to significant changes. Bookmakers have benefited from mergers and takeovers which have expanded business and cut costs, including tax payments. Aside from this, there has also been serious competition in the online part of the business. If 888 Holdings and Rank Group completed a deal to purchase William Hill then this new player would have become the largest bookmaker in the UK across all platforms.

However, one of the UK’s largest bookmakers twice rejected an offer from the 888 Holdings and Rank Group. After this, according to media reports, the 888 Holdings and Rank Group planned to unite without foreign involvement, although Frieberger has denied this.

Despite the collapse of the William Hill deal,  888 Holdings did not lose heart and continued to show impressive financial results. The bookmaker’s growth from the first half of the year continued into the third quarter. Against this background, the company’s shares, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange, increased by 6.9%. Additionally, since the start of the third quarter, the average daily revenue per 888 Holdings customer increased by 22%.

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