Pressure is on for Rank Group and 888 Holdings to up their bid for bookmaker William Hill before Sunday

 
Francesca Washtell
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A consortium of Rank and 888 has been eyeing up William Hill as a takeover target (Source: Getty)

The pressure is mounting for Rank Group and 888 Holdings to submit an increased takeover offer for bookmaker William Hill ahead of a looming final deadline this Sunday.

Last week, William Hill swiftly rejected an offer from a consortium formed by Grosvenor Casino operator Rank and online gambling giant 888.

The bookie described the proposal, which valued William Hill's stock at 364p per share, as "complex", "highly opportunistic" and a substantial undervaluation of the company.

Read more: William Hill shows the gaming tables can turn

It proposed a merger of Rank and 888 to create a new company called BidCo, which would then contemporaneously take over William Hill in a mixed offer for cash and shares in the new entity.

The consortium claimed it had identified £100m in annual cost savings from the tie-up and increased marketing effectiveness.

"Everything William Hill needs, we have on steroids," 888 chief executive Itai Frieberger told City A.M. on Thursday.

Read more: William Hill is moving further into digital with its latest acquisition

Rank and 888 are widely expected to launch a revised offer before 21 August. Last Thursday, the companies said they would still "welcome the opportunity to engage" with the bookie's board of directors to negotiate a new version of the deal.

The ailing bookmaker has been perceived by many as a takeover target as it has battled to break into the online betting market but has been losing ground to rivals.

Rank and 888 declined to comment.

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