Monday, 15 October, 2018

William Hill to sell Australia business to CrownBet unit

William Hill betting slip Cash proceeds are earmarked for debt reduction
Nellie Chapman | 07 March, 2018, 19:09

The acquisition of William Hill will move CrownBet to third position behind Tabcorp and Sportsbet as Australia's biggest wagering operators.

William Hill shares were up 1.2% at 319.70 pence per share on Tuesday.

Compounding the challenges for betting firms, South Australia introduced a point of consumption tax past year, making firms pay 15 percent of their net revenue from bets and Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria may follow suit.

Its Australian counterpart, whose Chief Executive is Mr Waterhouse-a high-profile bookmaker, placed under a "strategic review" and is now up for sale.

The deal represents an enterprise value of A$300 million, the company said.

Unlike many of Australia's other prominent online bookmakers, who had agreed to the credit-betting ban that was contained in a suite of new responsible-gambling laws, Mr Waterhouse's William Hill Australia has been fiercely resistant.

The Stars Group has entered into definitive agreements to increase its equity interest in CrownBet Holdings Pty Limited from 62% to 80% and for CrownBet to acquire William Hill Australia Holdings Pty Ltd., creating a leader in the regulated Australian online sports betting market.

The news service reported that William Hill Australia has around 284,000 registered online and telephone customers across Australia and that its revenues had accounted for about 7% of its London-headquartered parent's total takings previous year alongside nearly 6% of its adjusted operating profit. Gross assets were about GBP133.0 million for the same period. The write-down pushed William Hill to a pre-tax loss of £74.6 million ($133 million).

William Hill PLC is a gambling company.

The Australian Financial Review is reporting the deal is as good as done, with an announcement expected overnight.

However, the retreat from Australia could raise further questions about the future of William Hill, which has missed out on a round of consolidation in its home British market.

"The disposal will allow William Hill to focus on continuing to grow our UK Online and U.S. businesses".

William Hill's Australian spokesman on Sunday referred questions to its United Kingdom office.