888 Holdings Biggest Shareholder Disposes Entire Stake

October 10, 2017 by Paul Butcher

The Shaked Family which held the biggest share in 888 Holdings has decided to sell its entire stake in the company.

Following the exit of the Shaked Family from 888 Holdings, the company’s shares have fallen by 5 percent.

Sinitus Nominees Ltd., a trustee of The O Shaked Shares Trust, announced that it will sell 46,283,534 shares of 888 Holdings at the rate of 243 pence per share and thus reduce its share in the company to zero. These shares were made up of around 12.9% of the company.

Four months ago, the Shaked Family had sold 40 million 888 Holdings shares for £108 million, thereby reducing its equity in the company by 37 percent. The present sale of 46.7 million shares will create rumors that 888 Holdings will be taken over by another company.

According to news reports and rumors, the Shaked Family prevented William Hill from acquiring the company for $1.14 billion in 2015. The family did this by demanding 300 pence per share of the company while William Hill was ready to offer only 200 pence plus a dividend of 3 pence per share.

When the family rejected William Hill’s offer, a London Stock Exchange report stated

Due to a significant difference of opinion on value with a key stakeholder, it has not been possible to reach agreement on the terms of a possible offer and the Board of the Company has agreed with William Hill to terminate discussions.

888 Holdings shares became worth 300 pence on May 11, 2017 but shortly after that their value fell to 247 pence, giving the company a £891.38 million market capitalization. Following the exit of the family, the future of 888 Holdings becomes uncertain. As of now it is difficult to confirm if 888 Holdings will be acquired because the UK online gambling industry is undergoing a number of changes. Recently, the industry has witnessed major mergers of gambling companies, such as the merger of bwin.party digital entertainment with GVC Holdings, of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral and of Paddy Power and Betfair.

There are rumors floating around that GVC Holdings is still interested in signing strategic acquisition deals. GVC Holdings CEO Kenneth Alexander told Reuters that his company wants to expand its present product portfolio. The company had earlier tried to acquire Ladbrokes Coral in a deal worth £3.6 billion but it fell through. There could be a possibility now that GVC Holdings might go after 888 Holdings.

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