The online gambling group 888 Holdings will this week launch a cash call to fund its takeover of William Hill’s non-US operations, marking a rare equity raise in the London market since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sky News has learnt that 888 will announce its plans on Thursday morning, a month after it published annual results.
The equity-raise is understood to be being undertaken through an accelerated bookbuild, meaning that it can be implemented more quickly than a more conventional rights issue would allow.
However, 888’s shares have fallen sharply since the £2.2bn takeover of William Hill International – which includes its high street betting shops in the UK – was announced last September.
That means the company will have to issue substantially more shares to raise the same sum than it would have done seven months ago.
At Wednesday’s closing share price of 192p, 888 had a market capitalisation of £777m.
The company previously said it would raise approximately £500m by issuing new shares.
888 has promoted the deal to investors by emphasising the fact that it will create a more diversified revenue base across different countries, with leading positions in the UK, Italy and Spain.
The two companies will also complement each other, executives said at the time, because William Hill is strong in sports betting while 888’s major presence is in online casino and poker.
JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, the US investment banks, are working on the cash call for 888, which declined to comment on Wednesday evening.