M&A News

UK bookmaker William Hill has announced that it will today complete the exercise of its call option to acquire Playtech's 29 per cent stake in William Hill Online (WHO) for a total cash consideration of of £424m on a debt-free and cash-free basis.

William Hill agreed a deal to acquire the stake from Playtech last month, with Playtech receiving a proportionate share of 2013 profit from WHO up to the date of completion.

The company said that WHO is strong well-established industry leader and that acquiring full control at this time is consistent with the long-term strategic evolution of the group.

"William Hill Online has consistently delivered strong net revenue growth since it was formed in December 2008," said William Hill's chief executive Ralph Topping. "We are pleased to be assuming full ownership of this attractive, high growth, high performing business."

William Hill said that a cash adjustment will be made to reflect unpaid dividends and a working capital adjustment in WHO shortly following completion. Exceptional costs of approximately £3m are expected to be incurred in 2013 in relation to the transaction relating to advisory and valuation fees.
Playtech's software agreements with WHO will continue following the completion of the call option.

Shares in William Hill plc (Co. Data) (LSE:WMH) have dropped 2.19 per cent to 379.30 pence per share in London this morning, while shares in Playtech Limited (Co. Data) (LSE:PTEC) are currently trading down 0.33 per cent to 602.00 pence.