DraftKings Reportedly Considered Acquisition of 888 Holdings
According to a report from The Financial Times, DraftKings, a leading sportsbook operator, held discussions with major investors of 888 Holdings Plc, the owner of William Hill. The talks, which were reportedly held over the summer, centered around a potential takeover of 888 by DraftKings.
The Boston-based company was said to have considered an all-stock acquisition of 888, a move that would have enhanced its position in the sports wagering industry. DraftKings recently acquired William Hill’s international business, a transaction that likely increased its appeal to potential buyers due to the brand’s iconic status.
While a spokesperson for DraftKings did not confirm the negotiations with 888, they stated that the company routinely engages in discussions with various entities as part of its normal course of business. The operator emphasized its focus on the significant growth opportunities in the US market.
DraftKings is currently the second-largest online sportsbook operator in the US by market share. The company’s monthly revenue surpassed that of rival FanDuel for the first time in August, driven in part by the growth of its iGaming segment following the acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming.
The timing of the talks with 888 investors was particularly interesting. The discussions reportedly took place around the same time that FS Gaming Investments, an investment group led by former GVC CEO Kenny Alexander, acquired a stake in 888. However, the talks were halted after the Great Britain Gaming Commission announced a review of William Hill’s license due to regulatory concerns.
Notably, DraftKings had previously attempted to acquire Entain Plc, the owner of Ladbrokes, with offers totaling $22.4 billion. The negotiations ultimately fell through, leading to speculation that DraftKings may have been attempting to drive up the price of Entain for other potential buyers.
While the outcome of the talks between DraftKings and 888 remains uncertain, one of 888’s top 10 shareholders conveyed that they would have taken an offer from DraftKings seriously and would have at least considered the proposal. The potential acquisition could have significantly impacted the landscape of the sports betting and iGaming sectors.