William Hill ups MRG stake to 98.5%

5 February 2019

William Hill has increased its stake in MRG to approximately 98.5% ahead of its complete takeover of the online gambling company.
The bookmaker expects to finalise the purchase of MRG and assume full control of the business this month, having now initiated compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares in MRG.

In accordance with the acquisition agreement, Mr Green operator MRG is due to cease trading on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange on February 15.

William Hill first revealed plans to acquire MRG in October last year, when it tabled a bid of SEK2.82bn (£237m/€271m/$309m) for the business. The offer represented SEK69 in cash per share in MRG.

At the time, William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock said that the deal would enable the bookmaker to become “a more digital and more international business”.

Last month, William Hill was given the green light from regulators to complete the deal and the bookmaker had hoped to finalise the acquisition by January 25.

MRG holds remote gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Sweden, the UK and Ireland. Ulrik Bengtsson, chief digital officer at William Hill, will be responsible for leading the integration of MRG within the group.

Last month, William Hill warned that its adjusted operating profit for 2018 is set to be 15% lower than in the previous year. The bookmaker expects this figure to amount to £234m, which is in line with guidance of between £225m and £245m.

Speaking at the time, Bowcock said the acquisition of MRG would help to boost the business. He said: “With rapid expansion underway in the US, building on profitable foundations, and the acquisition of Mr Green nearing completion, we look forward to making further progress this year.”