William Hill, the UK’s second-largest bookmaker, has hired
financial PR agency Brunswick to launch its second attempted flotation
on the London Stock Exchange.
The appointment was made after a three-way competitive pitch which also
included Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Grandfield.
William Hill intends to float its business on the LSE at the end of this
year or early in 2001, having abandoned its original IPO launch last
Financial Dynamics was appointed to handle William Hill’s last flotation
attempt, which was cancelled due to lack of institutional investor
FD director Andrew Dowler said the agency was approached by William Hill
for this year’s IPO, but could not repitch having been appointed by
rival bookmaker Coral Eurobet in February to launch its listing on the
Japanese investment bank Nomura, which owns William Hill, made a
last-minute decision to pull out of the flotation last year, following a
more attractive buy-out offer from UK venture capital firms Cinven and
CVC Capital Partners.
William Hill, which is being advised by investment bank Schroders
Salomon Smith Barney, also scrapped intentions to spin off and float its
internet and telephone betting operations in April, deciding instead to
float the business as a whole.
It is expected that William Hill’s flotation price will be at a
significant premium to the pounds 825 million price paid last year by
Cinven and CVC for the business.
Financial services group Warburg attempted to float William Hill last
year at pounds 900 million.
The bookmaker now operates about 1,530 betting shops and takes 50,000
bets a week on its on-line operation.
Brunswick, whose current client list includes Airtours, Cable and
Wireless and WH Smith, refused to confirm the win.