William Hill shares rise on news of Swedish deal

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The share price of UK betting company William Hill has jumped by nearly ten per cent following news that it is to buy Swedish-based betting company Mr Green for £242 million.

The company has been attempting to move away from the highly regulated UK market and to expand into overseas markets, and is hoping that the purchase of Mr Green will enable it to reach new markets in Italy, Latvia and Denmark. The company hopes to finalise the deal in January 2019, although no announcement has yet been made about the fate of Mr Green’s employees. The news was welcomed by investors, and led to William Hill shares rising 9.95 per cent to 225.40p.  

According to William Hill, by joining forces with Mr Green, they will be able to create a strongly positioned business that would have a significant presence in online gaming and betting markets. Speaking about the purchase, the Chief Executive of William Hill, Philip Bowcock, said that it was part of their aim of becoming a more internationally diverse company:

This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business.”

The deal is not yet confirmed as it is subject to acceptance by the shareholders of Mr Green and the relevant competition regulators, but the current holders of around 40 percent of Mr Green stock are said to be in support of the purchase. The deal follows another recent William Hill expansion move in which they linked up with US casino company Eldorado as part of their plans to tap into the US market, and is part of a trend of UK and Irish betting groups expanding overseas in the wake of the UK government regulations concerning Remote Gambling Duty and Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.

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