William Hill and GVC’s proposed takeover of Sportingbet is still in play after the companies agreed on an improved offer.
The increased proposal follows Sportingbet’s rejection of an opening cash and paper offer of £350m on 1 October and values the company at around £530m. Hill’s has agreed to pay 48.9 pence a share in cash, in combination with the final proposed Sportingbet dividend of 1.1 pence per share, and 0.0475 new GVC shares per Sportingbet share.
Hill’s share of the deal would cost it around £455m in cash, according to a note by David Jennings of Davy Stockbrokers, a sum reflective of its proposed acquisition of the prized Australia division and other parts of the business operating in lower risk regulated markets. GVC would add the remaining – mainly dot.com – businesses to the Turkish-language Superbahis business it bought from Sportingbet last year.
The Takeover Panel has now extended the deadline for William Hill and GVC to make a firm offer from today until 5pm on 13 November.
Sportingbet Australia, bolstered last year with the acquisition of Centrebet for approximately £120m, contributed 43% of revenue and 90% of profit in the last quarter to the end of July.
Hill’s has not yet provided detail on what other locally licensed parts of the Sportingbet business it would acquire should the proposed transaction complete, although it seems likely to add Spain, where Sportingbet is joint market leader for online sports betting under its Miapuesta.es brand. Sportingbet is also paying gaming taxes ahead of licensing in Greece, where it is one of the two market leaders for online sports betting. Its other local licences are in Denmark, under its own brand and Centrebet.
William Hill’s approach for Sportingbet’s regulated business follows less than 12 months after bitter rival Ladbrokes’ £460m bid for the whole group foundered upon regulatory concerns over the Superbahis business in Turkey, subsequently carved off and sold to GVC for a minimum consideration of £125m.
Sportingbet is one of the leading online betting brands (under Miapuesta) in South America and the sixth largest in Germany, so the deal would allow GVC to strengthen its presence in these markets, where it operates under the Betboo and Casino Club brands respectively.
Article written by Stephen Carter