Hargreaves Lansdown’s Susannah Streeter discusses the news 888 Holdings has purchased William Hill’s International assets.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, comments:
“Online wagers may have taken the world of gambling by storm during the pandemic, but there’s still a future for the high street betting shop. The takeover by 888 Holdings of William Hill’s International assets offers a lifeline for the 140O shops it owns across the UK. Caesar’s Entertainment which acquired a William Hill in April only had eyes for its US business, and the future of the British shop network looked uncertain. But now it seems the retail operation will be a key part of 888 Holdings’ strategy to create a global gaming and betting group.
It’s the sports betting cachet of the William Hill brand which is particularly attractive and 888 Holdings reckons it will help it win over more customers online as well. It’s still a £2.2 billion gamble, with £500 million set to be raised through a rights issue, and although savings are expected of around £100 million a year, investors will be expecting some fast profit growth after the intial costs of integration.
119 William Hill shops closed during the pandemic, and although this is a bit vote of confidence in the network, its likely there will be a further shake up in the branch footprint, not least because of the ongoing shift to online betting and profit headwinds caused by slashing of maximum bets on fixed odd betting terminals.”