William Hill lauds US efforts as firm completes offer to MRG shareholders

William Hill has detailed that progression both online and in the US are going from strength to strength, as the organisation also revealed that 92 per cent of MRG shareholders have accepted its £245m acquisition proposal.

Completing the recommended public cash offer for the online gaming group, all conditions for the offer have been met, including the minimum acceptance level of 90 per cent.

Furthermore, the company details that in order to enable MRG shareholders who have not yet accepted its offer to tender their shares, the acceptance period is also being extended up to and including Thursday 31 January.

Settlement for shareholders who have already accepted is to begin on or around Friday 25 January, and for those who accept during the extended period that date is to be Friday 8 February.

A William Hill statement commented: “Subsequent to the announcement of the offer on 31 October 2018, William Hill has acquired 5,289,789 shares, corresponding to approximately 13 per cent of the shares and votes in MRG, outside the offer.

“Up to and including 17 January 2019, 32,338,986 shares have been tendered in the offer, corresponding approximately 79 per cent of the shares and votes in MRG.

“This implies that William Hill controls in total 37,628,775 shares in MRG, corresponding to approximately 92 per cent of the shares and votes in MRG.”

William Hill has also revealed a trading update for the period ending Tuesday 1 January, with group adjusted operating profit for 2018 approximately 15 per cent down to £234m.

Coming in line with its £225m – £245m guidance, underlying operating profit is expected to see a four per cent year on year profit, excluding the impact of “enhanced customer due diligence measures in online and US expansion costs”.

Praising its US operations, where it expects to break even after allowing for “significant expansion costs,” the organisations “rapid expansions” sees it live in seven states, meanwhile retails profits reduced year-on-year due to challenges from “wider high street conditions”.

Philip Bowcock, William Hill CEO, explained: “2018 was a pivotal year for both William Hill and the wider industry. We now have greater clarity around the key challenges and opportunities for our business.

“In 2019 we will remodel our retail offer while building a digitally-led international business, underpinned by a sustainable approach as part of our Nobody Harmed ambition.

“With rapid expansion underway in the US, building on profitable foundations, and the acquisition of Mr Green nearing completion, we look forward to making further progress this year.”