William Hill Rated ‘Sell’

William Hill earned a “sell” rating from UBS after losing significant market share in Australia to its chief rival, Ladbrokes. Lads has dominated for the last three quarters, and grew 50 percent. William Hill shrank by 8 percent.

Overall market growing 15 percent annually

Bookmaker William Hill has received a “sell” rating from global financial firm UBS after the sports betting group lost 8 percent of its value in Australia. Meanwhile, competitor Ladbrokes grew a full 50 percent in the same time frame, since the last quarter of 2015, according to the Asia Gaming Brief.

“The growth in Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and CrownBet over the last three years has intensified competition in the Australian online sports betting market, driving William Hill’s market share from 34 percent to just 12 percent of the digital market,” noted UBS analyst Chris Stevens. Net revenue was “flat” in 2015 versus 2013, even though the market grew at about 15 percent per year, Stevens added.

William Hill Chief Executive James Henderson blamed two factors for the slump: horse racing results at Cheltenham, and poor European football results. Those circumstances put online revenues “at about GDP 15 million (US$21.7 million) worse than expected,” according to AGB, causing UBS to issue its directive. The firm did not alter its target price of290 GBX (US$4.2) unchanged on the UK-based betting group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.