William Hill bets on Mr Green for online growth

Bookmaker William Hill is splashing out £241 million to acquire Sweden-based online betting firm Mr Green & Co.

The group said on Wednesday that it will offer 69 Swedish krona (£5.90) in cash per share for the Stockholm-listed company, a 48.5% premium on its closing price on October 30.

Mr Green operates in 13 markets under brands including Redbet and holds gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the UK and Ireland, and expects to obtain permission to operate in Sweden by year-end.

The combination of William Hill and Mr Green will create a “strongly positioned combined business” with a pan-European footprint in online betting and gaming markets, the firms said, alongside operations in the UK and the US.

William Hill said the takeover of Mr Green will increase its share of revenue and profits from online as well as from outside the UK, and reduce exposure to the UK market.

William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock said: “This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business.

“Mr Green 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.”

It marks the latest expansion for the British firm, after it recently agreed a tie-up with US casino giant Eldorado in a bold move to tap into the recently liberalised American market.

British gambling groups have been increasingly turning to overseas expansion as a way to offset the recent blow from a UK Government crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals.

Ladbrokes owner GVC recently announced a similar joint venture with Las Vegas-based casino group MGM.