Business

Rank group and 888 submit formal £3.6bn offer for bookie William Hill

RANK Group and 888 have submitted a formal £3.6 billion offer for William Hill as the duo press ahead with plans for a three-way merger.

Online operator 888 and casino giant Rank came clean over their interest in a merger with the high street bookmaker in July, highlighting what they see as "significant industrial logic in the combination".

The offer is understood to be 364p per share, rising to 408p when taking into account efficiencies and synergy savings. It is also thought that the deal involves saddling the newly formed company with a large amount of debt.

William Hill's board is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss the offer before a formal response is released to the stock market.

At the time of the original approach, William Hill said it "would listen to and consider any proposal which might be forthcoming".

However, it added that it is "not clear that a combination of William Hill with 888 and Rank will enhance William Hill's strategic positioning or deliver superior value to William Hill's strategy which is focused on increasing the group's diversification by growing its digital and international businesses".

Last week William Hill said that half-year profits were boosted by a strong Euro 2016, helping offset a dire Cheltenham Festival.

The deal marks a sharp turn of events after William Hill tried and failed to acquire 888 in a £700m offer last year.

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