In a statement to the Sunday Independent, Irish bookmaker BoyleSports has revealed its interest in acquiring some or all of the remaining William Hill betting shops in the UK.
1,400 shops are set to be sold by Caesars Entertainment following the US company’s acquisition of William Hill as it focuses on the expansion of the brand’s US-based operations.
In the statement, BoyleSports said:
“BoyleSports would certainly be interested in acquiring some or all of William Hill’s UK shops, or indeed any other opportunity that makes sense for our business. The sale of the William Hill estate presents us with a rare opportunity to achieve the retail scale we have been targeting.”
However, the company is likely to face some stiff competition as other interested parties include 888 Holding’s founding shareholders the Shaked family, and UK bookmaker BetFred.
While BoyleSports is a relatively small player in comparison to some of its competitors, the fact that the company is debt-free could give it an advantage in the race to acquire the UK-based shops.
The Irish company has long held an interest in UK expansion and as recently as last year it took over all 33 of William Hill’s betting shops in Northern Ireland. However, the bookmakers efforts to expand into England, Wales, and Scotland haven’t been quite as successful. In 2008, the company made an attempt to acquire Tote but lost out to BetFred.
The statement went on to add:
“We have made no secret of our ambition to be one of the principal operators on the UK high street and believe that our retail and digital offerings represent a best in class safe and enjoyable proposition for the betting public. We already have 21 shops in the UK and two in the Isle of Man, along with our 45 shops in Northern Ireland and our recently upgraded online betting site gives us a sizeable foothold in the UK retail and online markets.”
There is also a possibility that all 1,400 William Hill betting shops — that have estimated value £1.5B — may not go to a single buyer.
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