This news will not come as a newsflash to anyone familiar with the gaming industry; it’s been on the cards for some time but the deal is now complete. The UK bookmaker has paid around £400 million for Playtech’s 29% stake in William Hill Online, a company which was set up late in 2008 to take advantage of the rise in online gaming. The plan was to use William Hill’s name and Playtech’s gaming software to make an impact on the market and the venture appears to have been successful – this year clocking up it’s third of double-digit growth.
It seems to have been an amicable acquisition and Playtech will continue to provide the software to power William Hill Online. William Hill undertook a rights issue in March with the aim of raising £375 million to fund this buyout and also help with the acquisition of the Spanish and Australian operations of bookmaker Sportingbet.
William Hill’s expansion is beginning to take on a life of it’s own; the company was originally a chain of betting shops set up in 1934 and there are still some 2000 dotted around British high streets. In recent years it has been gradually adding to both it’s overseas operations and it’s online presence. As we’ve already stated, William Hill Online was the internet venture but offline the company has already snapped up a couple of American bookmakers. American Wagering Inc., Brandywine Bookmaking and the sports book of Club Cal Neva have all been acquired and William Hill has license to operate in Nevada.
Everything Playtech touches seems to turn to gold and the software provider has made a hefty profit from William Hill’s acquisition of it’s share. Playtech has also benefitted from profits from it’s share which weighed in at more than £40 million in 2012.