The boss for British gaming and sportsbetting firm William Hill has reportedly declared that the operator can survive and thrive on its own after last year walking away from a proposed $6 billion merger with Amaya Incorporated.
According to a report from the Racing Post daily horseracing newspaper, Philip Bowcock, Chief Executive Officer for William Hill, made the revelation yesterday as his company detailed that first-half net revenues had risen by 3% year-on-year to stand at in excess of $1.1 billion.
“I don’t know what other results are going to be like but I can look at what we’ve released today and I’m confident those results are going to stand up well in the wider marketplace,” Bowcock told the newspaper. “I think as long as we deliver results in line with this, there’s not a necessity to do any transaction.”
October reportedly saw William Hill call off the planned union with Montreal-based Amaya Incorporated, which is responsible for the PokerStars brand and recently re-branded itself as The Stars Group Incorporated, after its largest shareholder raised questions about the rationale behind the British firm throwing away its independence. Parvus Asset Management Europe Limited holds a 14.3% stake in the London-headquartered operator and is purported to have pointed to the rebuff given to a consortium consisting of rivals 888 Holdings and Rank Group when it had attempted a $3.9 billion takeover two months earlier.
The Racing Post reported that this had followed the late-2015 deal that saw GVC Holdings outbid 888 Holdings in order to purchase rival Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, which operates the Sportingbet brand, for $1.7 billion. Betfair and Paddy Power subsequently joined forces via a $6.5 billion tie-up in February of last year while Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Limited and Gala Coral Group Limited merged eight months later courtesy of an arrangement worth $3 billion.
“However, like any business in any sector, if an opportunity arises we’ll look at it on its merits and make a decision to ensure we’re delivering shareholder value,” Bowcock told the newspaper.
For the six months to the end of June William Hill reportedly declared an adjusted profit before tax of $146.1 million, which was a 2% boost year-on-year, despite a 1% decline in its adjusted operating profit to $170.2 million.
“This is a positive performance overall,” Bowcock told the Racing Post. “Profits were broadly flat but given the tough comparator from last year’s [UEFA European Championship] that we’re running into, that result was at the top end of analysts’ expectations.”
In its home market, William Hill reportedly explained that six-month online sportsbetting revenues had swelled by 13% year-on-year while takings from gaming had improved by 9%. For its land-based retail operation, the firm stated that the half-year period had seen amounts wagered rise by 2% alongside a corresponding 3% uptick in net gaming revenues.
“In the United Kingdom up to week 23, which is the proper like-for-like comparator, we saw wagering up 15% online,” Bowcock told the newspaper. “Gaming was also up in the high single digits and that’s because we’ve been delivering on all aspects of the business. It’s about delivering a better product to the online customer, which we’ve been doing.”