Rank and 888 make a bid for William Hill

Rank Group and 888 made a £3.6 billion (€4.2 billion) formal takeover bid for the bookmaker.

UK.- Rank Group and online gambling company 888 made a £3.6 billion (€4.2 billion) formal takeover bid for William Hill. The board of William Hill will meet today to discuss the bid made by the casino operator and the online gambling company.

It has transpired that Rank Group and 888 have made an ambitious joint cash-and-stock offer for William Hill worth 364p-a-share (€426.27). Rank and 888 have argued that their synergies may push the value of the deal up to 408p-a-share (€477.80). The suitor’s proposal would also see the combined business take on a considerable amount of debt.

William Hill’s board, led by chairman Gareth Davis, will convene today to consider the offer and to provide a formal response. Last month, Simon French, an analyst at Cenkos Securities, said that “any successful offer for William Hill would have to be pitched at well over 400p-per-share.” The price and the debt that Rank and 888’s plan to saddle the business with, are likely to be key factors in the board’s decision.

William Hill has been in a vulnerable position after its board ousted James Henderson its chief executive in July. Henderson held the position for just two years, due to his failure to revive the bookie’s struggling online business.