According to the Financial Times, DraftKings held discussions about acquiring 888 Holdings, the owner of William Hill and other European operators, during the summer. These talks took place in June and July and involved DraftKings CEO Jason Robins meeting with a group of 888 Holdings shareholders called FS Gaming.

The discussions focused on the possibility of an all-stock offer for 888 Holdings, with advisers present from both sides. Notable members of FS Gaming, including former GVC CEO Kenny Alexander, participated in the talks.

Analysts have identified 888 Holdings as a potential takeover target due to its struggling share price, which is attributed to management challenges, compliance issues, and a recent profit warning.

It’s important to note that DraftKings did not directly approach 888 Holdings. The talks coincided with 888’s Chairman, Lord Jonathan Mendelsohn, searching for a new chief executive.

In mid-July, Mendelsohn revealed that the UK gambling regulator had initiated a review of 888’s license due to concerns related to a tax bribery investigation during Alexander’s tenure at GVC.

During the discussions, 888 Holdings had a market capitalization of £550m ($676.9m), and an acquisition would have been at a premium to this value. However, a potential hurdle in the deal would have been 888 Holdings’ £1.7bn debt resulting from the acquisition of William Hill’s non-US business from Caesars Entertainment.

DraftKings’ interest in 888 Holdings aligns with its broader strategy of expanding its presence and influence in the betting industry. In 2021, DraftKings made a £22bn bid for Entain, although it was later withdrawn.

In Q3 2023, DraftKings reported positive financial results, with a 57% increase in revenue driven by customer engagement, acquisition, and expansion into new regions. Despite this growth, the company still reported a net loss. DraftKings plans to further expand into different US states and Canada in the coming year.

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