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William Hill sells Australian unit to CrownBet for A$317.7m

William Hill said it has sold its William Hill Australia unit to CrownBet Holdings and a group of shareholders associated with the founder and CEO Matthew Tripp, for an enterprise value of A$300 million ($233 million), equivalent to an equity value of A$313.7 million.

U.K.-listed William Hill said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange that the business was put under strategic review after Australia banned credit betting and the likely introduction of a point of consumption tax in a number of states.
In the year ended 26 December 2017, which was not materially affected by the credit betting ban or the introduction of new taxes, William Hill Australia had revenues of A$201 million and EBITDA of A$47 million.

The disposal is expected to complete following regulatory approvals from the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Northern Territory Racing Commission, which William Hill expect will be obtained in a timely manner.
Disposal proceeds, net of costs, will be used initially to reduce group indebtedness and invested to support further growth of William Hill.
"We are pleased to announce the sale of William Hill Australia to CrownBet. The disposal follows a strategic review of the Business, launched in January after its profitability came under increased pressure due to the recent credit betting ban and the likely introduction of a Point of Consumption tax,” CEO Philip Bowcock said in the release. “The disposal will allow William Hill to focus on continuing to grow our UK Online and US businesses, particularly as we prepare for the decision on the PASPA appeal due in 2018.”

Four bookmakers had been in the running to buy William Hill.

Crown itself saw its ownership structure change significantly last week, with Canada’s The Stars Group acquiring a 62 percent equity stake for $117.7 million, being a majority owner of the company.

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