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July 2013

Will Hill Contemplates Aussie Bookmaker Acquisition

by Renee Israel

William Hill Eyeing Tom Waterhouse

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 platform.

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 gambling company."

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 " 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."

Story Highlights »
  • Will Hill's already owns Sportingbet's Australian arm.
  • William Hill global expansion strategy is ongoing.

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