William Hill extends into online lottery market with acquisition of 29.4% of NeoGames S.a.r.l
William Hill PLC (LSE: WMH) (William Hill or the Group), one of the world’s leading gambling companies, announces today that it has acquired 29.4% of NeoGames S.a.r.l. (NeoGames), a leading online lottery software and services provider, for a total cash consideration of US$25m (c£16m).
NeoGames is a leader in the emergent online lottery market. Founded in 2005 as a pioneer of online scratch cards, it subsequently developed its offering to provide a range of online lottery products and services to lottery rights holders. It provides a combination of a wide portfolio of games, a state-of-the-art technology platform and operational services to ten lotteries worldwide.
Its primary focus is currently on the US, where per capita spend on lotteries is the highest in the world. Following a clarification of US Federal Law in 2011, state lotteries are now permitted to sell lottery products over the internet. Total lottery sales in the US were $60bn in 2014. Four states have started selling online and others are expected to follow. NeoGames’ NeoPollard joint venture won the contract for Michigan’s iLottery and has achieved the highest online penetration rate of the four states so far. It has also been successful in a number of European countries, including supplying Sisal in Italy and Santa Casa in Portugal, and in 2015 was selected by Sazka, the leading lottery licensee in the Czech Republic, to provide a complete internet solution.
William Hill has an option to acquire the remaining 70.6% of NeoGames exercisable after either three or five years. The option is exercisable at William Hill’s full discretion and the price payable will be determined at the time of exercise using a valuation methodology agreed as part of the initial stake purchase.
William Hill’s 29.4% shareholding in NeoGames will afford it certain shareholder rights as well as allowing the Group to nominate two representatives to the Board of NeoGames. William Hill has also agreed to fund a $15m working capital facility if required.
James Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of William Hill, commented:
"The emergent online Lottery market is an exciting new opportunity in the gambling sector and NeoGames is a disruptive technology operator offering customers a great experience and lottery rights holders a compelling alternative to established retail lottery operators. This agreement gives William Hill good optionality in a new market that is increasingly attractive to gambling customers."
Ilan Rosen, Chief Executive of NeoGames, commented:
“We are excited by this strategic investment and partnership with William Hill which, apart from being a strong vote of confidence in our company and future expansion plans by one of the leading players in the gambling world, also opens up promising areas for synergies between our companies in the online lottery market, bringing William Hill’s expertise and excellence in areas such as sports betting and omni-channel growth.”
William Hill PLC
James Henderson, Chief Executive Officer
Neil Cooper, Group Finance Director
Lyndsay Wright, Director of IR
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8918 3614
Aideen Lee / Oliver Hughes
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959
Notes to editors
William Hill, The Home of Betting, is one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies, employing around 16,000 people. Founded in 1934, it is the UK's largest bookmaker with around 2,360 licensed betting offices that provide betting opportunities on a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events, gaming on machines and numbers-based products including lotteries. The Group’s Online business (www.williamhill.com) is one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming businesses, providing customers with the opportunity to access William Hill's products online, through their smartphone or tablet, by telephone and by text services. William Hill US was established in June 2012 and provides land-based and mobile sports betting services in Nevada, and is the exclusive risk manager for the State of Delaware’s sports lottery. William Hill Australia is one of the largest online betting businesses in Australia after the Group acquired Sportingbet and tomwaterhouse.com in 2013. It offers sports betting products online, by telephone and via mobile devices. William Hill PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Group generates revenues of c£1.6bn a year.
NeoGames is a leading online Lottery software and service provider. For almost a decade NeoGames has provided its customers with a complete iLottery 360° solution, which includes the widest portfolio of market-proven games across Desktops, Smartphones and Tablets, a comprehensive back-office Platform and a complete set of Player Operational Services. NeoGames’s flexibility and experience enables its lottery customers to tailor their best suited solution, and generate significant revenues from the interactive offering.