British gaming and betting giant William Hill Plc will get an international hub in Malta, as part of expansion plans for Europe.
The company will get its long-awaited foothold in Malta through its purchase of Sweden-based gaming company Mr Green & Co AB for 2.82 billion Swedish Crowns (€271 million), looking to expand and diversify into more European markets.
Mr Green's online-only business will increase the group's share of revenue and profits from online as well as from outside the UK, and reduce William Hill's exposure to the UK market, the offer document showed.
"MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries," said Philip Bowcock, William Hill's chief executive officer.
Former Betsson CEO Ulrik Bengtsson, currently William Hill's chief digital officer, will be responsible for leading the integration of MRG within the group.
Last August, Mr Bengtsson had revealed William Hill had plans to open a satellite office in Malta in preparation for Brexit.
Mr Green holds remote gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Britain and Ireland. It also operates brands such as redbet, Mr green and bertil among a range of other iGamingsites.
Gaming companies in the UK have been shifting their focus to other countries as stricter regulation at home crimps revenue and profit.
Mr Green, also known as MRG, also expects to obtain Swedish licences by the end of the year.
The company started in 2007 after entrepreneurs Henrik Bergquist, Mikael Pawlo and Fredrik Sidfalk created the character Mr Green and developed the casino site. It currently operates in 13 countries.
William Hill offered a near 49 per cent premium to MRG's closing price of 46.5 Swedish Crowns on Tuesday. It is conditional on the company getting at least 90 per cent of the MRG shareholding: over 40 per cent has already been pledged. The deal has been recommended for approval by Mr Green & Co's board and shareholders who own over 40 per cent of MRG accepted the offer.
Mr Green & Co reported strong results for the third quarter, with revenue increasing nearly 51 per cent.