888 Holdings plc (LSE: 888), one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies with internationally renowned brands which includes 888 and SI Sportsbook and now William Hill and Mr Green, is pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of the international (non-US) business of William Hill ("William Hill" or "William Hill International") from Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (the "Acquisition").
In anticipation of completion, the Group has made excellent progress in integration planning, and is pleased to announce that as of completion, the executive leadership team for the Group will be made up of the following members:
- Chief Executive Officer: Itai Pazner, appointed as CEO of 888 in January 2019, having previously held the positions of COO and SVP of 888's B2C division
- Chief Financial Officer: Yariv Dafna, appointed as CFO of 888 in November 2020, having previously held a range of senior roles at Telit Communications
- Chief Strategy Officer: Vaughan Lewis, appointed as CSO of 888 in April 2021, having previously held a range of senior roles at Flutter Entertainment, The Stars Group and Sky Betting & Gaming
- Chief Operating Officer: Guy Cohen, who has been interim COO of 888, having previously been responsible for 888's B2C business
- Chief Risk Officer: Harinder Gill, who is newly appointed and will take up his role from 3 August, and was formerly the Group Head of Regulatory Compliance at Revolut
- Chief People Officer: Mark Skinner, who was appointed Chief People Officer of William Hill in 2021, having previously held senior HR roles at William Hill and RSA Insurance
- Chief Product and Technology Officer: Satty Bhens, who was appointed as CPTO of William Hill in 2019, having previously been a Partner at McKinsey & Company
- Chief Transformation Officer: Naama Kushnir, who previously held the role of COO at 888
- Managing Director UK: Phil Walker, who was appointed as UK MD in 2020, having previously been online managing director, following a series of senior roles at Gala Coral and Ladbrokes Coral
As part of the organisational changes, Ulrik Bengtsson and Eric Hageman, former CEO and CFO of William Hill will be leaving the Group following completion.
Any future organisational changes will be managed with the primary objective of maintaining momentum within each business, and maximising the benefits of this complementary combination as the Group looks to achieve the potential revenue and cost benefits of integration, with anticipated pre-tax cost synergies of at least £100 million to be fully delivered by 2025.
Upon completion, the Group will initially report results in four segments:
- 888, including the US
- William Hill Online UK
- William Hill Retail (UK)
- William Hill International
888 currently intends to report its interim results in August 2022, and will begin to report financial results in Pounds Sterling from this point.
The Company expects, following Completion and in compliance with terms of the existing William Hill 2026 guaranteed notes, William Hill to deliver a change of control notice to the trustee for the holders of the existing William Hill 2026 guaranteed notes enabling such holders, if they so elect, to require William Hill to repurchase their guaranteed notes in accordance with the terms of the William Hill 2026 guaranteed notes and, in the case of the existing William Hill 2023 guaranteed notes, the Company expects William Hill to deliver to the trustee for the holders of such notes, a notice notifying such holders of its intention to redeem the William Hill 2023 guaranteed notes in full in accordance with the terms of those notes.
Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, commented on the completion of the Acquisition: "I am delighted to announce the completion of our transformational combination with William Hill. We have built an outstanding leadership team, combining strengths from across both businesses, and as I look at the future, the combination of our product and content leadership, powered by our proprietary technology, and our world class brands, gives us a powerful platform for growth.
I'd like to thank Ulrik and Eric for the great job they have done at William Hill and I wish them well for the future."
Lord Mendelsohn, Chair of 888, also commented on the completion of the Acquisition: "This combination brings together two high quality businesses to create a powerful, global betting and gaming business. We believe the acquisition will create significant value for shareholders, creating a combined business with leading technology, products and brands across sports betting and gaming. With a top quality management team, formed from talent from across both businesses, I am confident about our future plans."
As the Acquisition constitutes a reverse takeover under the Listing Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA"), admission of the Company's ordinary shares to the premium listing segment of the Official List of the FCA and to trading on the London Stock Exchange plc's main market for listed securities will be cancelled at 8.00 a.m. on 4 July 2022. Applications have been made to the FCA and the London Stock Exchange plc for re-admission of the Company's existing 446,331,656 ordinary shares of GBP 0.005 each to the premium listing segment of the Official List of the FCA and to trading on the London Stock Exchange plc's main market for listed securities ("Re-admission"). It is expected that Re-admission will become effective at 8.00 a.m. on 4 July 2022.