London-listed William Hill has made a bid for Stockholm-listed gaming operator Mr Green & Co. (MRG), valuing the business at up to £242m.

The cash offer equates to SEK69 per MRG share compared to yesterday's closing price of SEK46.45 per share.

William Hill said that the proposed acquisition would strengthen its international business and give it access to an international hub from which to drive international growth with deeper operational expertise in new markets.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to William Hill earnings from the first full year of ownership before synergy benefits.

MRG holds remote gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Great Britain and Ireland, and is awaiting licensure in Sweden. It operates in 13 markets with brands including Mr Green and Redbet.

"This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill - immediately making us a more digital and more international business," said chief executive Philip Bowcock.

"MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries. William Hill will move from a single brand to a suite of brands that can maximise growth opportunities moving forward in new and existing markets."

The offer already has the support of MRG's board of directors, as well as investors with a combined 40.04 per cent shareholding in the company.

Ulrik Bengtsson, William Hill's chief digital officer, will be responsible for leading the integration of MRG within the William Hill Group, with expected cost synergies of at least £6m per annum by the third year post-completion.

The transaction will be funded by cash on William Hill's balance sheet or through existing credit facilities and is subject to acceptance by MRG's shareholders and anti-trust approvals. Completion is expected to occur in January 2019.

Shares in William Hill plc. (LSE:WMH) were trading up 5.38 per cent on the news at 219.20 pence per share in London Wednesday morning, while shares in Mr Green & Co. AB (STO:MRG) jumped 46.63 per cent to SEK68.11 per share in Stockholm.


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