William Hill ups guidance after suitors lose interest

Shares in British betting services giant William Hill rose sharply, yesterday, on the back of it upping its full-year earnings guidance shortly after suitors ended their interest in buying the company.

Joint bidders Rank and 888 Holdings formally pulled the plug on their recently revised £3.6bn (€4.2bn) bid for William Hill late on Thursday, still adamant that a successful deal would have created “a transformational force” in the global betting and gaming industry and unlocked “substantial cost and revenue synergies”.

William Hill had rejected the bid, believing it undervalued its business, and said this week that it saw no merit in engaging with its suitors. Yesterday, the company maintained its confidence of fulfilling an improved digital offering and international expansion led growth plan.

It added that it has seen a good start to the second half of the year and now expects annual operating profit to come in nearer the top end of its previously guided £260m-£280m range.

“We will continue to focus our efforts on our strategy to deliver value for shareholders,” said chairman Gareth Davis, who added three of the group’s four divisions are performing well, with “good progress” being made on improving the other — digital.

The operational update helped boost William Hill’s share price by as much as 6.4% at one point yesterday, although that gain was pared back slightly later on; albeit with the stock still up by around 4%.


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