Digital Expansion Needs for William Hill Inspire Mr Green Takeover Bid

William Hill has made a play to offset recent regulatory changes by launching a £242 million bid for online operator Mr Green.

Philip Bowcock William Hill

William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock says the takeover of Mr Green will help diversify his company’s business portfolio. (Image: The Times)

Following the decision to have tighter controls on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), the UK gaming firm is planning to expand its global reach by acquiring Mr Green & Co.

Based in Malta but drawing the majority of its revenue from Europe, Mr Green has become one of the leading online brands since going live in 2007.

Opening New Doors

According to the company’s latest financial report, 36 percent of its revenue comes from western Europe, while the Nordics and the remainder of Europe make up 21 percent of its bottom-line. For William Hill, the £242 million takeover bid will not only open up more revenue streams but give it a footing new markets.

“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,” chief executive Philip Bowcock said in the October 31 announcement.

By becoming what Bowcock has described as “a more digital and more international business,” William Hill will be looking to offset regulatory changes in the UK. With 2,300 licenced betting office across the country, William Hill will be one of the worst hit when the £2 FOBT betting limit comes into effect next October.

Further evidence of William Hill’s desire to evolve into a more digitally-focused operator came in mid-October with the news it was looking to sell some of its racing interests. According to sources speaking to The Guardian, the company wants to offload its on-course pitches in order to focus on other ventures.

William Hill Embracing International Markets

Tied into this move away from live betting is the need to expand on an international scale. As well as using Mr Green’s online sites to offset a drop in betting shop revenue, William Hill wants to generate income outside of the UK.

With chancellor Philip Hammond announcing an increase in remote betting duty during his October 29 budget speech, UK operators will be looking for ways to negate any future shortfalls.

The sports betting sector in the US has already become a focus for many of the country’s biggest brands. However, with the market in a fledgling state, William Hill is looking to achieve growth closer to home by using Mr Green’s European presence.

At this stage, the £242 million cash offer will now be considered by Mr Green shareholders. As per William Hill’s press release, those holding 40 percent of the company’s shares have already agreed to back the takeover.

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