Merge Not: William Hill Presses on

Published November 19, 2016 by Lee R

Merge Not: William Hill Presses on

An overhaul of William Hill’s management launches the return to respectability.

Not all betting parlours are flying high in the Year of the Merger.

Image Restoration

William Hill is attempting to resuscitate its reputation after a prolonged period of negative headlines.    

Management Overhaul

The main measure is a senior board overhaul announced Monday by William Hill to resuscitate the bookmaker’s faltering online sector.


The pioneering online betting firm’s troubles can be traced to the double whammy of online woes and a poor Cheltenham, which at the time triggered a profit warning and the removal of former CEO James Henderson.

Merger Missteps

William Hill also has been unsuccessful in joining the merger trend, first fighting off an unwanted bid from Grosvenor casino operator Rank and online rival 888 this summer, then seeing a desired merger deal with Canadian PokerStars owner Amaya fall apart. 

The New Superteam

The overhaul includes the installation of a new trio of online specialists to maximize the support for inexperienced interim CEO Philip Bowcock in his campaign to have the interim label removed.   

Leading the Comeback

Ladbrokes digital operations founder John O’Reilly was tabbed to lead the transition.  The industry veteran additionally credited with turning around Coral’s online operation said he looks forward to “re-establishing” William Hill.

Other Members

Joining O’Reilly on the board is online retail expert Robin Terrell, who brings his senior experience from Amazon, John Lewis Direct and Tesco; and Mark Brooker, who previously served as City banker and then chief operating officer of Betfair’s betting exchange.

Chances of Ascension

Sources within William Hill acknowledge that the respective experience of each of the trio in terms of “gambling, technical experience and customer relationships” ultimately positions any of them for consideration to replace outgoing chairman Gareth Davis.

Trumping Back

This move, coupled with the latest William Hill trading updates, appears to have stimulated signs of new growth after a painful £1 million payout on the Donald Trump US election win. 

Encouraging Signs

Guarded optimism springs from the 6% jump in amounts staked by online punters in the 17 weeks to October 25 rose 6%, boosted by bookie-friendly football results putting profit estimates at £260 million to £280 million.

Expert Opinion

As analyst Nicholas Hyett observes, William Hill seems to be reverting back to core business after disheartening merger experiences.


Bucking the merger trend, Hill should return to form by returning to fundamentals. 

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