Shares in 888 Holdings hit a new high this week after the gambling group beat estimates by posting a 51.6% revenue increase for 2020. The London-listed company’s share price jumped 6% to 353.2p on the back of the announcement.
888 said that revenue hit $849.7 million for the 12 months to December 31, compared to $560.3 million in the prior year. Casino was the company’s primary revenue driver, but sports betting jumped 35.7% year-on-year to $122.1 million. That was driven by the roll-out of its first proprietary sports betting platform following its takeover of Bet Bright.
The UK remained 888’s core operating market, with revenue here amounting to $333.5 million, or 39% of total revenue. Revenue in Europe, the Middle East and Africa reached $253.4m, around 30% the group total, while US and the Americas contributed $93.7 million, 11% of overall revenue.
888 Holdings chief executive Itai Pazner said: “2020 was a landmark year for 888, with our team navigating the many challenges presented by a global pandemic to deliver record financial results, and significant progress against our strategic priorities. Our product-leadership strategy delivered outstanding results in 2020, with the launch of our ground-breaking [responsible gambling solution] Control Centre, our first ever in-house sportsbook, and a totally new poker platform.
“Our focus on delivering safe, intuitive, content-rich and entertaining products is helping us to deliver a differentiated customer experience and supporting our market share gains in key regulated markets.”
Pazner has confirmed that the company is interested in buying William Hill’s European business. Caesars Entertainment is on the brink of completing a £2.9 billion takeover of William Hill. However, it is only interested in William Hill’s US business and plans to immediately sell the rest.
Analysts expect a number of interested parties in the European side of the business, which could be valued at around £1.2 billion. The US arm may show the greatest potential, but William Hill makes most of its revenue in Europe.
Pazner said it “could be an interesting asset for us”, and hinted it might buy the firm’s UK betting shops alongside its online business. “It’s coming up relatively soon and we’ll definitely be looking at it,” added Pazner.
Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment also saw its share price increase this week after announcing that it might list a small share of its holding in FanDuel. The firm currently owns 95% of FanDuel, having purchased an additional 37.2% of the business in December.
Flutter has a market cap of £27 billion, with analysts at Peel Hunt valuing FanDuel at around £12 billion within that. However, DraftKings – a smaller rival to FanDuel in the United States – is trading at a market value of $28.5 million, which “appears to support the argument that FanDuel is undervalued”.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, believes a listing would be sensible. “Flutter potentially listing its sportsbook and daily fantasy sports betting business FanDuel in the US makes perfect sense for two reasons,” he said. “First, it is likely to get a much higher valuation than is currently attributed to the operation as part of the Flutter group.
“Second, this is arguably the most exciting part of its group and it seems logical to want to capitalise on positive momentum and give investors an opportunity to invest purely in this bit. It also helps there is already a listed peer in the form of DraftKings.
Ladbrokes, Coral and Bwin owner Entain has appointed Mark Gregory as an independent non-executive director. Gregory had a 19-year career at Legal & General, and he is also an independent non-executive director at Direct Line Insurance Group, where he acts as a chair for the remuneration and investment committees.
“On behalf of the board, I am delighted to welcome Mark to Entain,” said chairman Barry Gibson. “Mark brings extensive knowledge of financial and customer services through his lengthy career in the insurance and retail sectors.
“He is an experienced remuneration committee chair who brings deep finance and commercial expertise and will further enhance the Board’s ability to support and oversee the delivery of our growth and sustainability strategy.”
Entain has also founded a greyhound racing joint venture with Arena Racing Company. It will produce greyhound racing content for Entain’s betting brands, and also distribute racing content on a B2B basis. The media rights deal covers Arena Racing’s 16 UK courses and runs until the end of 2029.