UK bookmaker goes public
By Paul
Investors have until this Friday (June 14) to apply for shares in William Hill, the UK’s second largest bookmaker. The offer price has been set at 190p ($2.67) to 240p ($3.37), valuing the company at £920 million ($1,290 million), if taken the mid-price of the offering.

Last week, falling stock market indices led some analysts to suggest that William Hill might have to lower the offer price, or even abandon the flotation. The company insists, however, that the initial offer price will remain in the original band, and reports a lot of interest from potential shareholders. The minimum investment is £1000 ($1403).

'We like this stock and William Hill has not been greedy with the price range,' says Scott Penrose at NatWest Stockbrokers, which with independent financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown is recommending the shares to investors. 'This is a good growth stock with a good dividend,' says David Harding, the chief executive of William Hill.

The UK gambling industry has boomed over recent years, helped by the abolition of betting tax, and deregulation of the industry. William Hill has taken advantage of these opportunities to establish a leading 40% share of the telephone betting market. William Hill’s online betting business is also highly successful and profitable. In times such as these William Hill is a good company doing well,' says Mr Penrose. 'It's one of the few internet companies that's in profit and has long-term credibility.'

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