Published on by James
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Published on by Adam
For many people around the world, 2016 has been a year to forget. The same can be said for William Hill who have endured a battering over the past 12 months, with failed takeovers, high-profile recruitment struggles, and in-house squabbling broadcast in the mainstream media. This bookmaker was once the leading star in the online gambling industry, commanding huge player numbers and dominating profits – can they get it back?
After seemingly having a solid financial plan in place for the year 2016, it was all unravelling by March with the declaration that there could be a substantial decline in full-year profits. Changing regulations have been a problem for many online casinos, no doubt, but William Hill have seemingly overstepped their goals for this year – and it has backfired massively.
Many long-term executives who served at William Hill for years have been released. The board is, subsequently, going through a huge transition – while CEO, James Henderson, has also been removed. All of this activity creates uncertainty, especially when their recruitment policy hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
Despite the “unanimous” decision to remove Mr Henderson from his position, William Hill’s board have found it difficult to narrow down a shortlist of replacements so far – with reports suggesting that many are even rejecting the opportunity. Despite being 6-months into the search, chairman Gareth Davies has said that the group are yet to offer the job to anyone.
However, disagreements with their largest shareholder, Parvus Asset Management, occurred after a “risk, debt and hope” proposal with Rank Group and 888 was rejected in favour of a deal with Canada’s Amaya. Parvus took exception to this and pulled out of the backing, leaving any merger or takeover plans in tatters.
With so many problems overshadowing William Hill moving forward, it’s difficult to see where a way forward lies. Clearly a new CEO needs to be in charge soon, despite the company’s insistence that interim Philip Bowcock is progressing towards targets, but this is proving difficult due to the many reported snubs they have received.
Furthermore, with computer hackings and a general decline in popularity, one of the UK’s most famous bookmakers is in murky waters for the first time in a long time. Will 2017 bring much needed changes and experience to William Hill? We’re about to find out.