The Sunday Times has reported that Playtech reportedly tabled an offer to take over 888 Holdings, which the latter had turned down. The offer was made in July, the media said. The news, which was only shared by the outlet over the weekend, had a positive impact on 888 Holdings’ stock value with the shares increasing their value by 18.98% today and trading at 83.74 GBX at the time of writing.
Playtech reportedly offered to pay £700m for the company, attempting to move aggressively and consolidate two of the biggest gambling operators in the United Kingdom and beyond under the same operational roof. This is not the first time 888 has been the target of potential acquisitions, however.
The company was also targeted by DraftKings which also attempted to move in on an all-stock acquisition of its competitor and consolidate it under its own banner, but that move too was spurned. In the meantime, 888 has had interesting past few months, with former GVC CEO Kenny Alexander acquiring a stake in 888 and prompting a closer look by British regulators into the matter.
If the report about Playtech attempting to acquire 888 Holdings is true, this would not exactly be surprising as the two companies have been known to work together. For example, 888 and Playtech have been working together in the regulated market in the United States, with a particularly strong focus on the online casino sector.
888 is understandably a tempting target for rivals, who are hoping that 888’s debt-to-capital ratio which stands at $3.55bn will be reason enough for the brand to reconsider its position and perhaps yield to a better-heeled competitor.
Yet, 888 Holdings is also one of the longest-standing companies in the sector and it wants to maintain its status as an independent company. 888 has also had a change in leadership, prompted by less-than-ideal financial results and the recent probe into its operations.
The company, though, ended its hunt for a new chief executive in October when it appointed Per Widerström as the man at the helm. 888’s confidence in its ability to overcome the recent choppy financial patch is what makes it a renowned leader in the gambling industry. Whether it succeeds is a matter of time.
Yet, the company must be taking solace in the fact that there is no shortage of rivals interested in buying it.
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