BLP advises Playtech on £424m sale of stake in William Hill Online

International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has advised long-standing client Playtech on the sale of its 29% stake in William Hill Online (WHO) to William Hill Plc for £424m.

Since advising Playtech on its admission to trading on AIM in 2006, then the largest AIM IPO, BLP has acted for Playtech on all of the key transactions for its business, including the establishment of the WHO joint venture, the acquisitions of Geneity, Ash Gaming, PT Turnkey Services, Virtue Fusion and GTS, and its graduation to the Main Market culminating in its entry into the FTSE 250. Most recently, it advised on the landmark commercial arrangements with Ladbrokes to help drive the growth of Ladbrokes’ remote gambling business.

On each of these transactions, the BLP team has been led by Corporate Finance and Client Relationship Partner, Alex Latner. On this transaction, Alex worked alongside Senior Associates Gareth Jones and Natasha Aziz. Ashurst advised William Hill.

Commenting on the transaction, Alex said: “In an ever evolving market, we have successfully guided Playtech for several years now. We are delighted that they have once again relied on us to advise on such a successful transaction for the group. The growth and success of William Hill Online (WHO) has surpassed all expectations.”

“In addition to the £424 million received for the sale of its stake in WHO, Playtech received over £140 million by way of profit share distributions from WHO during the term of the joint venture. All this for an initial outlay by Playtech of £144.5 million in 2008. And these amounts don’t include the substantial software royalties paid by WHO which continue to be paid pursuant to the software licensing arrangements that remain in place. Playtech has yet again demonstrated its ability to deliver.”

Mor Weizer, CEO of Playtech said: “We have worked with Alex [Latner] and the team at BLP for eight years, when we first instructed them on our London IPO. They understand our business and how we work, and are leading advisers in the industry. BLP consistently delivers outstanding legal advice, whilst being responsive, personable and, importantly, commercial. They always get the deal over the line, consider all the angles and leave no stone unturned.”

Playtech is the world’s largest publicly-traded online gaming software and services supplier, boasting a market capitalisation of over £1.75bn.

William Hill Online was formed in 2008 as a joint venture between Playtech, the international software and services provider for the online, mobile, TV and land-based gambling industry and William Hill Plc, which is one of the largest bookmakers in the UK.

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