William Hill (WH) has offered £242 million for the Swedish gaming group Mr Green (MRG). The operator with a large hub in Malta has licenses in various European countries. In fact, its international presence is the main reason why WH wants to buy the group. The bookmaker believes their experience will benefit its expansion after Brexit.
A Safe Bet
The Mr Green group holds licenses in smaller markets such as Denmark, Italy, and Malta. Also, it operates legally in the UK and Ireland for some time. Apart from its own Green brand, it runs other gambling sites, like Redbet, too.
What’s more, it also provides software services and support to various parts of the industry. All that makes the Stockholm-listed company a valuable asset. In essence, it expands WH’s digital presence and national footprint across Europe.
“This acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill. It makes it a more digital and more international business,” said CEO Philip Bowcock. “Mr Green is a top brand. It’s the leading casino in Germany and number three in Austria, for example. And they have a significant presence in the Nordics. We are heavily reliant on the UK. We need to diversify to get more revenues from other markets,” he underlined.
William Hill is leaving Gibraltar
Indeed, the UK market turns tougher for WH every day. After FOBT stakes go down to £2 next October, almost 900 of the 2,300+ shops are in danger of closure. In addition, the government recently increased remote gaming duty to 21%. Add Brexit to the mix, and there’s no surprise that the British bookie looks abroad. In brief, it seeks to reduce its exposure to the domestic market. But also, it needs a base in Europe after the rupture.
The company will keep its Gibraltar centre for online customers in the UK. But their international operations have a different destiny. “We were going to Malta anyway. So now, we will drop our international operations straight into their Malta hub. They have more than 300 people,” he explained. “It’s a sensibly priced transaction. It gives us significant opportunities to grow internationally. And gives us that hub in Malta,” The CEO added.