888 making ‘huge progress’ in Africa as
‘landmark combination’ causes optimism
Itai Pazner, Chief Executive Officer of 888, has elaborated on the “huge progress” being evidenced across the African continent, as the company aims to stick to a three pillar framework to deliver “long-term sustainable growth”.
This comes after what is lauded as an “incredible period for the business” that was buoyed by the closure of the group’s William Hill transaction in addition to an array of new market entities.
“This has been an incredible period for the business, the most significant transformation in the 21 years that I have been in 888,” noted Pazner, with Ontario, Virginia, and four African regulated markets pinpointed as key developments.
This will see launches made across Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique under the 888bet brand, which has come to fruition following the 888Africa joint venture being established in March.
With expectations of the addressable market across the content expected to “grow rapidly over the medium term,” Pazner addressed a “really exciting opportunity” that “could be a source of significant value” during the coming years.
“The operations are under the brand 888bet, which is already scoring well in our targeted markets, leveraging the global brand awareness of the 888 brand,” he said. “It is very early days, but we are really pleased with the rapid progress the team has made.”
Adding: “In terms of Africa. So Africa, the brand there is 888bet actually, which is the first time we’re launching that brand. So it will obviously be focused on sports betting and gaming, but the lead product in Africa is actually sports betting.
“And in terms of access to the William Hill brand, obviously, we have access to the William Hill brand everywhere outside of the US.
“So we can use that brand if it makes sense in the future. At the moment, we’ve decided to launch with a bet, and that will be the lead brand in the African markets.
“…there are certain markets where having all three brands won’t make sense”
This leads into a William Hill update, which deliver a tick into a third of an aforementioned three part strategy that comprises investment of resources in regions that boasts “the most attractive opportunities,” reinforcing sustainable practices, and supporting growth with strategically and financially attractive M&A.
The combination is praised as uniting “some of the industry’s strongest brands,” with almost six million customers served via 888, William Hill and Mr Green through the past 12 months.
“This acquisition fits perfectly with our strategy and really accelerates our plan to become a global leader,” Pazner said.
Continuing: “The combination with William Hill is really complementary in terms of market focus, giving us top three position in the UK and Spain and top five position across several other markets.
“There are some additional markets where the William Hill and Mr Green brands performed strongly that we could now consider growth markets for the group.
“And equally, there are certain markets where having all three brands won’t make sense, and we are working through all of these now as part of the integration to decide where we can optimise our investment decision and marketing approach.”
Driven by a “truly transformational period” through the first half of the year, looking ahead Pazner confidently suggests that “extensive M&A activity” has given the group a “platform to create a world leader in online betting and gaming”.
Before Yariv Dafna, CFO of 888, added a brief note on the period that lies ahead: “It is too early to talk about 2023 in details, but I can say that our priorities and focus are on integration, execution of our synergy plan and on cash generation and deleverage. We remain confident in our plans and outlook, including the midterm target of 3x leverage.”