William Hill expands flagship brand into Latvia ahead of 888 takeover

William Hill has secured market access into Latvia for its flagship sportsbook and casino brand, enabled by an existing holding in the country. 

The UK bookmaker plans to build on its pre-existing momentum with 11.lv – which it states has become a ‘top three player’ in Latvia’s online betting and gaming market – as well as its financial support for Responsible Gambling Latvian Cup.

In pursuit of this goal, the company aims to leverage existing media partnerships with ‘bespoke creatives’ as well as its Brotherhood brand concept, which focuses on connecting people in a responsible environment through sports and wagering. 

William Hill International MD, Nir Hakarmeli, said: “I am very proud of the work done building the 11.lv brand in the Latvian market, becoming one of the leading brands in the country. 

“This makes us well-positioned to take this strategic step, and we look forward to introducing one of the strongest brands in the industry and proving to our Latvian customers that William Hill is who you play with.”

William Hill previously established a foothold in Latvia 2019 by acquiring 11.lv, which has been operating under a local licence since 2012. 

By rebranding 11.lv under the William Hill identity, the Gibraltar-headquartered firm aims to boost its local presence ahead of key Latvian sporting events, including the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship and the aforementioned Latvian Cup.

Market entry in Latvia for the William Hill brand comes ahead of the takeover of the firm by 888holdings – the latter company’s shareholders approved the acquisition this week by a majority of over 99% at the Extraordinary General Meeting. 

888 has detailed that the takeover will take place ‘on or around’ 30 June, as it seeks to create a ‘global online betting and gaming leader’ by merging two brands.

The combined entity is expected to generate ‘pre-tax cost synergies of at least £100m in 2025’, according to 888 Chairman Lord Jonathan Mendelsohn in the firm’s acquisition prospectus published last month. 

Initially agreed on 9 September 2021, the takeover deal saw 888 acquire William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars Entertainment for £2.2bn.

A reduction agreement reached this year saw the sum fall by £250m to £1.95bn, of which £100m will be maintained as a FY2024 earnout incentive based on William Hill’s EBITDA performance.

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