William Hill strikes £242m deal for Mr Green
William Hill through a controlled affiliate William Hill Holdings Limited has today announced a recommended cash offer to acquire Mr Green & co AB for SEK 69 per MRG share, which implies a total consideration of approximately SEK 2,819m, equivalent to GBP 242m.1.
MRG is a fast-growing, innovative iGaming group with operations in 13 markets and brands including Mr Green and Redbet. MRG holds remote gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Great Britain and Ireland, and expect to obtain licences in Sweden by year end. MRG has leading gaming and casino products supported by a fast growing sportsbook.
The Board of Directors of MRG has recommended the Offer for acceptance by the shareholders, and shareholders in MRG Henrik Bergquist, Hans Fajerson, Fredrik Sidfalk, Martin Trollborg, Karl Trollborg, Tommy Trollborg and Anita Trollborg representing in aggregate 40.04% of the total number of issued shares and votes in MRG, have undertaken to accept the Offer and tender any of their shares in MRG in the Offer.
The combination of William Hill and MRG will create a strongly positioned combined business with an expanded pan-European footprint in faster growing online betting and gaming markets, further supported by the existing William Hill Online and Retail businesses in the UK and the US.
Ulrik Bengtsson, William Hill’s Chief Digital Officer, will be responsible for leading the integration of MRG within the Group and has a strong background in working with Nordic online gaming businesses through his time at Betsson.
William Hill recognise the capabilities and skills of MRG’s dedicated management and employees and look forward to welcoming these talented individuals to William Hill. Prior to completion of the Offer, no decision will be taken on any material changes to MRG’s employees and management or to the existing organisation and operations, including the terms of employment and locations of the business. Following completion of the Offer a careful review of the capabilities and needs of the new combined operations will be undertaken in order to determine the optimal management and employee structure for future success of the Group.
The Transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings from the first full year of ownership before synergy benefits, and achieve returns above William Hill’s cost of capital.2 Synergy benefits of at least GBP 6m p.a. are estimated to be achievable progressively, with full delivery by the third year after completion. In addition to the immediate financial benefits of the Transaction, William Hill believes the acquisition of MRG will enhance the William Hill business and strategy for the long-term.
The consideration payable to MRG shareholders will be funded by cash on William Hill’s balance sheet or through existing credit facilities. William Hill’s pro forma net debt to LTM EBITDA is expected to be approximately 1.3x at completion.
The Transaction is subject to acceptance from MRG’s shareholders and anti-trust approvals. Completion is expected to occur in January 2019.
Commenting on the Transaction, Philip Bowcock, William Hill PLC Chief Executive Officer, said: “This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business. MRG 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.”