William Hill rejects 'highly opportunistic' takeover bid

This comes after a series of consolidations in the industry...

William Hill rejects 'highly opportunistic' takeover bid

INPHO / Morgan Treacy

British bookmaker William Hill has rejected what it has called a "highly opportunistic" takeover attempt.

Rank Group and 888 Holdings offered £3.6bn to buy the company - William Hill said that this proposed deal "substantially undervalues" the firm.

The bid values William Hill at 364p per share, a 16% premium to the pre-bid price, would involve Rank and 888 merging initially that new entity then merging with William Hill.

The rejected bid is reflective of a rapidly consolidating gambling industry that has been impacted by increased regulation and higher taxes.

A series of consolidations in the bookmaking industry has left William Hill as one of the largest stand-alone operators.

Ladbrokes is in the process of merging with rival bookmaking firm Coral, while Paddy Power and Betfair merged earlier this year to form an €8bn gambling giant.

This is a stark turnaround from William Hill approaching 888 with a £700m takeover bid last year.

The bookmaker has been hit by a poor Cheltenham Festival and issued a profit warning as its online business has struggled to grow.