Competition authorities give William Hill takeover of MRG the green light

William Hill has announced that it has been given regulatory approval from ‘all necessary authorities across related jurisdictions’ for its takeover of the Stockholm-listed operator MRG.

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Competition authorities in all relevant jurisdictions have given their approval to the takeover. © Pexels.

The €270m acquisition was proposed on 31 October 2018 as part of William Hill’s efforts to increase its presence in European regulated markets, especially in the Nordics. The acquisition would also reduce the operator’s reliance on its UK performance and increase the share of its online business.

Hills has been granted regulatory approval by competition authorities in all required jurisdictions and the offer has been approved by MRG governance.

MRG shareholders have now been given until January 17 2019 to respond to the SEK 69 price per share offer. William Hill aims to begin settlement on January 25 2019 should the conditions of the offer be accepted.

Shareholders certainly have an enticing offer on their hands. The final bid was SEK 2.8bn (£242m), which is a 49% increase on the closing price of MRG in Stockholm in October. However, William Hill has the right to extend the consideration period and also to postpone settlement.

The operator will also purchase 2,181,926 shares from Citigroup Global Markets Limited, which equates to 5.34% of outstanding MRG shares, as part of the deal.

Along with a Nordic presence, the acquisition will offer William Hill a Malta based hub, with MRG’s headquarters currently located there. This will prove especially valuable after Brexit.

Speaking when the original offer was made in October 2018, Philip Bowcock, William Hill CEO, said:

This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business. MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries. William Hill will move from a single brand to a suite of brands that can maximise growth opportunities moving forward in new and existing markets. Philip Bowcock, William Hill CEO

All information surrounding the offer can be found at the William Hill Plc website.

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