by Renee Israel
William Hill, the top UK gambling group, is said to be eyeing an acquisition
of the Australian bookmaker, Tom Waterhouse.
The Australian newspaper, The Australian Financial Review, has been quoted as
the major source of information, speculating that Tom Waterhouse is seriously
contemplating an offer of "less than AU$150 million" for the major bookmaker's
William Hill has a strong foot in the Australian betting market already, and
purchased Sportingbet Australia earlier this year for $660 million.
CityAmPm publication said that William Hill's talks to acquire Tom Waterhouse
was the latest in "a spree of acquisitions from the UK's biggest land and online
Will Hill Negotiations at Preliminary Stage
According to reports, takeover negotiations between William Hill
and Tom Waterhouse, the Australian bookmaker, are at a preliminary stage, with
CityAmPm saying that the company's value has been placed at around $30 million.
The Age, another Australian newspaper wrote that "tomwaterhouse.com
is valued at less than $150 million."
"Although small by William Hill's standards, the move [to
purchase Tom Waterhouse] is the latest effort from chief executive Ralph Topping
to expand globally," writes CityAmPm.
The purchase of Sportingbet's Australian arm was clearly Will
Hill's largest acquisition this year, but the group has also made a strong
entrance into the newly regulated individual states in the US.
William Hill also agreed to buy out a stake in its joint online
operations with casino software provider, Playtech.
Earlier this year, there were reports that the British bookie,
Ladbrokes was interested in purchasing Tom Waterhouse, although they were
strongly discounted by the group.
Controversial Australian Bookmaker
While Tom Waterhouse is a popular household betting brand in
Australia, it is not believed that the company is very profitable, largely due
to the very large sums of the money, the owner and founder of the same name
spends on advertising and marketing.
Waterhouse recently paid $50 million to become the official
partner of the Australian National Rugby League for a period of five years, and
he has been the center of controversy relating to sports betting TV advertising.
Writing about the William Hill Tom Waterhouse purchase,
The Age also said that "his firm has shelled out millions of dollars to grab
market share from larger and mostly foreign owned rivals."