Waterhouse sells to William Hill - 9th August 2013
Waterhouse will remain the face of his online betting
business - for now - after it was bought by British
gambling powerhouse William Hill for far less than
Hill chief executive Ralph Topping said ''there was
no intention of covering him up with a brown paper
bag'' after the deal, which will result in the British
company paying $34 million in cash for tomwaterhouse.com
and taking on $6 million of the bookmaker's debt.
Hill would also pay up to $70 million more if the
Australian business achieves earnings of between $10
million and $30 million in 2015. Mr Waterhouse had
been previously reported as wanting to sell 50 per
cent of the business for as much as $100 million.
Topping did not rule out replacing the names of the
Australian betting houses William Hill owns - Sportingbet
and Centrebet - with the parent brand, and said the
decision was dependent on the outcome of a strategic
meeting next month. It is understood the Tom Waterhouse
brand is expected to be kept.
Waterhouse said he had been looking to sell his business
since October and William Hill, with its transformation
from a High Street operator to a global online business,
''was a fit''.
vision [for tomwaterhouse.com] is so exciting and
what they've planned to do out here
a no-brainer,'' he said.
Waterhouse will remain the managing director of tomwaterhouse.com
and will also join William Hill Australia's management
deal underscored the continued expansion of foreign
participants in Australia's sports betting arena.
In the past two years, foreign operators such as Betfred,
Unibet, bet365 and William Hill have entered the market,
which is seen as having customers more sticky than
in Europe. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power also joined
the corporate bookmaking space when it bought Sportsbet
Topping signalled his intention to challenge the dominance
of Tabcorp - which reported on Friday a 63 per cent
plunge in its net profit after tax for the year to
June - describing the former government-owned business
as a comfortable monopoly.
are keen to be a voice in Australia,'' he said. ''We
are keen to take on comfortable monopolies. I don't
think they have a place in the modern world. Monopolies
often mean weak management, weak performance.''
echoed Tabcorp's concern about unregulated overseas
sites, describing them as akin to underground gambling
dens, and said it was time Australian authorities
tightened the regulatory regime.
an 80-year-old business, we think we can aid the Australian
market in its development. We are coming in as a responsible
company with an eye to the Australian market modernising
itself,'' Mr Topping said.
British bookmaker's online and international expansion
could also result in an Australian or a person of
non-British background being on the company's board
and perhaps even running the company in the next decade.
not blowing smoke up anybody's backside when I say
it, but the Australians are talented people in this
sector,'' Mr Topping said. ''I'm very impressed by
them and it's not beyond the realms of possibility
that they could be running the company.''