UK bookies William Hill have named Tom Waterhouse (pictured) the new head of the company’s Australian operations. Last August, Hills paid AUD 35m (£19m) to add the TomWaterhouse.com operations to its Australian holdings, which includes the Sportingbet and Centrebet brands. In May, Hills announced that former Sportingbet CEO Michael Sullivan, who had been serving as CEO of Hills’ consolidated Aussie operations, was headed for the exits. James Henderson, who will replace Ralph Topping as CEO of Hills’ group operations effective August 1, had been serving as interim Aussie CEO. Hills now says its 2014 accounts will include £1.8m in exceptional costs related to the restructuring of its Aussie management structure.
Hills also announced it has settled the earn-out provisions of the TomWaterhouse.com acquisition. The deal called for a top-up of up to AUD 70m based on the Waterhouse site meeting certain performance benchmarks by 2015. Hills now says it has settled the earn-out ahead of schedule for AUD 5m (£2.7m), AUD 4m more than it had expected at the end of 2013. Hills will book the extra AUD 4m as an exceptional cost in 2014.
Hills recently announced that it had booked a record 22m wagers on the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which allowed it to handily beat its £200m World Cup betting turnover target even before Sunday’s final match. Hills has yet to reveal how profitable its World Cup trading has been, but the final turnover figure will be more than twice the tally Hills recorded during the 2010 tournament.
Having a strong Aussie presence undoubtedly helped push Hills over the top, as its Aussie operations reported taking World Cup wagers worth AUD 24m (£13.1m). That was better than Tatts Group, which generated just AUD 17m. However, Hills’ results paled in comparison to Betfair Australia, which recorded AUD $52m in turnover, while Paddy Power’s Aussie offshoot Sportsbet topped all online-only bookies with a hefty AUD 74m (£40.4m). But the belle of the ball was corporate bookie Tabcorp, which told the Sydney Morning Herald it expected the final turnover sum to top AUD 120m (£65.5m), thanks in part to its exclusive wagering sponsorship with local broadcasters.