William Hill Snaps Up Mr Green For £241 Million & Secures Malta Base

UK bookies William Hill to acquire Swedish gaming operator Mr Green in £241 million deal.

UK sports betting superpower William Hill Plc has announced it is acquiring Mr Green & Co AB (MRG) the Swedish online gaming operator, in a £241 million deal.

William Hill, who are already busy expanding their market share in the emerging US market, will gain a significant boost from Mr Green, which currently operates in 12 nations, including Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta and the United Kingdom.

Mr Green, which is currently MRG’s largest iGaming site, also looks set to be one of the first to be licensed under the newly re-regulated gambling regime in its home nation of Sweden, when it goes live in January 2019.

The deal, which equates to a 48% premium on Mr Green shares, has been recommended by its board to its shareholders.

In a statement, William Hill said the deal would deliver:

  • Growth acquisition which strengthens William Hill’s international business and drives further online penetration
  • Access to international hub from which to drive international growth together with deeper operational expertise in new markets
  • Bring strong brands with track record of growth across its geographic portfolio

William Hill chief executive, Philip Bowcock said:

“This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business.

“Mr Green 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 move may well mark the start of a new round of major mergers and acquisitions, as firms facing ever-increasing regulatory and tax burdens, not to mention intense competition, look to increase economies of scale and reach dominant positions in new markets.

Notably, as Bowcock pointed out, the deal will provide William Hill with a fully functioning and established base in Malta, firmly within in the European Union, ahead of Brexit – which looks increasingly likely to result in a potentially catastrophic “no deal” cliff edge exit.

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