CasinosJungle > News > iGaming Giant Lined Up for Casino Business Acquisition

iGaming Giant Lined Up for Casino Business Acquisition

Penny December 13, 2023

The world of online gambling is cut-throat. With so much revenue up for grabs, it’s not uncommon to see takeovers, acquisitions, and legal challenges worth billions in any one year. Nowhere is this truer than in Europe, where a number of behemoths battle it out for dominance in a liberal market that has thrived for decades. Now, one of its biggest names has been singled out for a nearly $1 billion casino business acquisition takeover that would shake up the most prominent markets in the region. 888 Holdings, owner of the 888 brand of online gambling sites, William Hill, and Mr Green, has been at the center of growing speculation about its ownership with one determined iGaming tech giant willing to part with £700 million to secure its future. Is a protracted bidding war set to unfold for one of the world’s leading brands or will this deal collapse into nothing before any official handshakes?

Takeover bid - casino stock prices on board

Rejected Big-Money Bid Sees Share Prices Soar

While Playtech, the previously mentioned iGaming tech company, seems to be keen to acquire the gambling group and all of its brands, those currently in charge at 888 don’t appear to be willing to part with it just yet. It has been reported that the initial bid was rejected outright. Rather than causing unrest amongst investors and shareholders, though, this bold stance has actually seen confidence in the group grow. IG reports that share prices rose by 14% in the wake of news of the failed bid. That is due to the confidence shown by the current owners of the group, who signaled that they believed that the value of the company’s shares were much higher than the 156p (£1.56) per share that was offered in July. That is despite the shares actually being valued at nearly half that amount at around 80p per share at the time. With such an impressive display of belief in the company and its outlook, existing shareholders and speculators are displaying bullishness in their backing of the Gibraltar-based casino and sportsbook operator. Now, speculation remains that there will be further discussions between the two parties, and potentially further interest from elsewhere.


Despite the stance of confidence taken by the company hierarchy, it could be said that rejecting the bid is foolish given the difficulties that 888 has been dealing with in recent years. According to the UK’s Racing Post, the trouble-ladened company was valued at much closer to £300 million based on the share prices at the time of the initial bid and plummeting confidence earlier in the summer of 2023 saw the company drop out of the FTSE 250 Index. This paints a very different picture of what is going on behind the scenes than any of the latest developments around share prices and perhaps indicates a momentary return to growth, rather than a long-term build back to strength. It must also be noted that the acquisition attempt comes just a year after 888, along with Sports Illustrated, acquired William Hill for £2 billion. So, any valuation under the billion pounds mark was always likely to be dismissed given the very recent nature of the acquisition. This shows a company in turmoil and one that could perhaps be better placed should a takeover be agreed.


Northern European Icons at Stake if Trouble Continues

Ultimately, fresh management could be what is needed at this point in time for a company that continues to experience hardship and further slumps. However, the severity of the situation and potential fallout of any bad choices should not be overlooked here. The brands involved in this tumultuous deal are huge names in Northern Europe. Specifically, in the UK and Ireland, William Hill in particular has been a mainstay of retail and online sports betting for decades. For such a well-respected name to be experiencing this level of hardship is concerning for industry heads and sports bettors alike. It indicates a trend away from established, reputable brands at a time where reputation should count for so much more amidst ongoing legislative battles.


If a new bid is placed that edges closer to the 888 management’s valuation of their portfolio, it’s likely that we will see movement on a deal. After a difficult few years, the company would most likely be keen to see some return on their investments, as opposed to potentially wiping further value off the portfolio’s market price. Not only that but current shareholders will likely begin to push for a greater urgency in any takeover discussions if they feel that their investments could be going to waste. It looks to be a dramatic year ahead in 2024 for all parties involved.


Welcome back!

Forgot your password?

Need an account - register?

Create an account

Already have an account