William Hill

UK betting and gaming operator William Hill has entered into an agreement to acquire 4.7 per cent of the outstanding shares of MRG, operator of the Mr Green brand.

The agreement follows the bookmaker’s €271m offer to acquire MRG, which was announced on October 31. The acceptance period for that offer is set to begin on or around December 10 and close around January 11, 2019. If approved, settlement is expected to begin around January 17, 2019.

Since then, William Hill has agreed to purchase 1,913,266 shares – corresponding to approximately 4.7 per cent of all outstanding shares in MRG – at a price per share of SEK69 (€6.70) in cash, the same rate as the original offer.

William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock said at the time of the initial offer: “This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business.

“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 rationale behind the move is to create a strongly positioned combined business with an expanded European footprint in faster growing online betting and gaming markets, further supported by the existing William Hill Online and retail businesses in the UK and the US.

MRG’s online-only business will increase the group’s share of revenue and profits from online as well as from outside the UK, and in the process reduce William Hill’s exposure in the UK.