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William Hill was founded in 1934 and is one of the most trusted brands in our market. It attracts millions of customers from all over the world.
With more than 15,500 employees in 12 countries, we at William Hill are continuously innovating to offer our customers interesting betting and gaming opportunities, be it in betting shops, sports betting, online or on their mobile devices. And we're committed to ensuring that they can play positively with a range of tools and systems that encourage control over customers as part of our Nobody Harmed goal.
We started as a UK company and this is still our home market which accounted for 86% of our business last year. However, the share of our international revenue will increase if we continue to implement our strategy of building a digitally managed, internationally diversified gaming company. We have been licensed to provide online betting and games in Italy and Spain since 2011 and 2012, respectively, and have been operating in the US since 2012. Our European presence has improved significantly following our acquisition of Mr. Green, a high-growth European gaming business, in January 2019, while we are growing rapidly in the US as more states regulate sports betting.
This is a highly innovative industry. As one of the largest gaming companies, we continuously invest in our people, products, and marketing to deliver a great customer experience.
Our brand is an 85-year-old favorite that has stood the test of time and still stands for the values that William Hill himself stands for - trust, integrity, and customer service.
William Hill plc is a bookmaker based in Central London, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is part of the FTSE 250 index.
The company was founded by William Hill in 1934 at a time when gambling was illegal in Britain. It changed hands many times and was acquired by Sears Holdings in 1971, Grand Metropolitan in 1988, and Brent Walker in 1989. In September 1996, Brent Walker received back £ 117 million of the £ 685 million he had paid for William Hill as Grand Metropolitan, it was found that the company's profits were exaggerated at the time of the sale.
Japanese investment bank Nomura carried out a £ 700 million leveraged buyout of William Hill in 1997 when Brent Walker was in debt in excess of 1.3 billion following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office that sentenced two directors to prison terms. GBP collapsed. In February 1999, a proposed IPO was abandoned due to "weak interest" and Nomura moved the company to funds managed by private equity firms Cinven and CVC Capital Partners for £ 825 million.
The company was eventually listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2002. The following year, CEO David Harding received a bonus of £ 2.84 million. This made him the UK's fifth highest-paid corporate director in 2003. In 2002, he acquired Sunderland Greyhound Stadium and Newcastle Greyhound Stadium in 2003. In June 2004, Chairman David Harding sold £ 5.2 million of shares to fund his divorce. This resulted in a decline in the company's shares which detracted from the company's value by £ 75 million.
In 2005, William Hill bought 624 betting shops in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, and Jersey from Stanley Leisure for £ 504 million. The acquisition briefly led the company past Ladbrokes to the first position in the UK betting market in UK terms of business but not income. The Office of Fair Trading caused William Hill to sell 78 of Stanley's 624 stores due to concerns about anti-competitive practices.
Amid fears that William Hill had overpaid the Stanley businesses, the company was relegated from the FTSE 100 index in December 2005. In 2008 Ralph Topping was named Chief Executive. After Topping left Strathclyde University as an avowed "rascal", he took a Saturday job in 1973 at a William Hill betting shop near Hampden Park, Glasgow, and worked his way up through the ranks. In November 2008, William Hill partnered with Orbis (most recently OpenBet), an Israeli software company, Playtech, to fix its own failed online operation.
As part of the deal, William Hill paid Playtech founder Teddy Sagi £ 144.5 million for various assets and affiliates. This included several online casino sites that William Hill continues to operate under the WHG name. Playtech took a 29% stake in the new William Hill online unit. The company wrote off £ 26 million when it scrapped its previous internal system. In June 2009, William Hill backed Playtech despite the fact that its partner had wiped out a quarter of its market value after a profit warning.
A William Hill betting shop in Headingley, Leeds.
The company operates worldwide and employs around 14,000 people with headquarters in the UK, Republic of Ireland, and Gibraltar. The company offers betting by phone and internet through its 1,568 licensed betting shops in the UK. The tele betting call centers in Rotherham, South Yorkshire placed 125,000 bets in 2007, Grand National, and according to the company, betting shops issued more than a million betting slips in an average day.
In addition to its online sports betting, the company offers online casino games, games of skill, online bingo, and online poker. Since the Gambling Act 2005, slot machines have boosted their profits to counter declining revenues in other areas. In August 2010, William Hill launched a training program for more than 10,000 employees to combat underage gambling in its retail stores.
In November 2008, UBS analysts identified "concern" about the company's debt, which exceeded £ 1 billion and was later reported as £ 1.5 billion. In 2009, the company issued both a rights issue and a corporate bond to restructure its debt.
The company owns 2,300 betting shops.
Outside the UK
In 2009, William Hill relocated its online and fixed-odds games division to Gibraltar for tax avoidance reasons. In Gibraltar, William Hill is a member of the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association.
In March 2009, William Hill closed 14 of its businesses in the Republic of Ireland with the loss of 53 jobs. In February 2010 it was announced that the remaining 36 Irish stores would be "reviewed" pending the introduction of potentially controversial slot machines in Irish stores.
William Hill pulled out of Italy in 2008 after just two years, a failure that cost the company £ 1 million in wasted investment. The company's joint venture in Spain ended in January 2010 with the purchase of the 50% stake in William Hill by partner Codere for € 1, after both parties had initially invested € 10 million in April 2008. William Hill lost £ 11.6m in 2008 and £ 9.3m in 2009 on the company.
In September 2009, the company took part in the tender for the first online gaming license in India and expressed its interest in entering the Indian betting market via the remote Himalayan state of Sikkim.
In June 2012, William Hill expanded to Nevada, the only US state that allowed full-fledged sports betting, and bought three chains of sports betting: Lucky's, Leroy's, and the satellite operation of Club Cal Neva for a total of $ 53 million. The deals at the time gave the company control of 55 percent of state sports betting locations and 11 percent of the nation's book revenue. All three chains were to be renamed under the name William Hill.
In 2013, three Australian brands, Sportingbet, Centrebet, and Tom Waterhouse, were bought by the company and renamed William Hill Australia in 2015. Both Sportingbet and Centrebet were acquired for USD 660 million and USD 132 million respectively in March of that year. Tomwaterhouse.com was launched in August 2013 for an initial USD 34 million. Tom Waterhouse was named Chief Executive Officer of William Hill Australia in July 2014.
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