Cinven bought William Hill in March 1999 for €1.4 billion. A leading provider of bookmaking services in the UK, William Hill has one of the best-known brand names within the industry. At the time it was the market leader in telephone and internet betting services, and was the second largest operator of licensed betting offices, with more than 1,500 nationwide.
The strategic objective was to build revenues and cash flow by developing and expanding the retail estate, further developing and marketing high margin betting products, building on the telebetting operation, and at the same time broadening the product offering by establishing a significant presence in the internet gaming market. A new CEO and CFO were appointed in response to management succession issues. Continued growth and upgrading of the retail estate were complemented by the significant and profitable growth in on-line betting. The UK government’s abolition of betting duty positively impacted on profits.
William Hill was floated on the London Stock Exchange in June 2002. Over the lifetime of the investment, EBITDA grew two and half times. Since flotation, the share price performed robustly.
Multiple returned on investment: 3.1x