William Hill has recently completed a £424 million purchase of Playtech's 29% share in the William Hill Online joint venture, this closes the book on what was an extremely difficult relationship between the two parties.
The timeline below is how, one of the boldest partnerships started, played out, and eventually ended in success.
It began during December 2008, when Playtech injected £177 million, of assets, into the existing internet operations, of William Hill, this effectively established William Hill Online.
During February 2011 William Hill took an injunction against Playtech for the prevention of Playtech selling their 29% stake, in the online jount venture in William Hill. At a later stage Playtech then made use of their position, that they had within WHO, to veto William Hill who wanted to purchase the mobile betting operator, Probability.
In October 2011, approximately 300 customer service staff at WHO online, Bulgaria, Israel, and the Philippines walked temporally off the job in protest, when the company allegedly had plans for the relocation of all the online operators to Gibraltar.
In March 2012, official representatives from both sides began talks to salvage the joint venture. Playtech wanted to discuss possible changes in structure and were prepared to hear new suggestion, however, William Hill wanted to put an end to Playtech’s veto over an any acquisitions, and they wanted a commitment that Playtech would not work with their arch-rival, Ladbrokes.
During October 2012 William Hill announced that it considered activating thier call options for Playtech's share, this set off 3 banks who began conducting a valuation.
In December 2012 William Hill agreed to purchasing Sportingbet, a leading gambling and betting provider, but protests from Playtech threatened to block the deal.
During March 2013, William Hill made the decision of activating their call option on the Playtech 29% stake, This announcement come, fresh on the heels, of their £460 million Sportingbet acquisition. This was the first step, of the group, as they ventured into the US online gambling market. A week later after this announcement, Playtech and William Hill’s rival, Ladbrokes, then signed a deal that saw Playtech providing the gambling operator, an advisory services, as well as a full product suite.
On April 15, 2013, William Hill plc, completed their exercise of the call option and acquire the 29% stake of Playtech in William Hill Online for £423.75 million, this is a cash on cash return, that is more than 3.5 times. Playtech received their share in the WHO profits which had accrued since January 1, 2013.