M&A News

William Hill has sold its Australian wagering business to CrownBet, the online sportsbook operator owned by The Stars Group.

William Hill will receive AUD$300m for the business, which was put up for review earlier this year following the introduction of the credit betting ban in Australia and the proposed introduction of a point of consumption tax.

In the year ended December 26, 2017, William Hill Australia generated revenue of AUD$201m and EBITDA of $47m, with gross assets of approximately £133m. During the period 30 per cent of wagers came from credit betting customers.

"We are pleased to announce the sale of William Hill Australia to CrownBet," said Philip Bowcock, chief executive of William Hill.

"The disposal follows a strategic review of the business, launched in January after its profitability came under increased pressure due to the recent credit betting ban and the likely introduction of a Point of Consumption tax. The disposal will allow William Hill to focus on continuing to grow our UK Online and US businesses, particularly as we prepare for the decision on the PASPA appeal due in 2018."

William Hill first revealed that it was in discussions with CrownBet in November 2017.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board and the Northern Territory Racing Commission.

William Hill will use the proceeds from the sale to reduce group debt and for investment to support further growth.

Shares in William Hill plc. (LSE:WMH) were trading up 1.17 per cent at 319.70 pence per share in London early Tuesday. Shares in The Stars Group Inc. (TSX:TSGI) closed in Toronto Monday up 0.50 per cent at CAD$36.25 per share, having set a new 52-week high of CAD$36.50 per share earlier in the day.