BoyleSports, Ireland's largest independent bookmaker, has acquired William Hill's chain of 33 shops in Northern Ireland and two shops in the Isle of Man. This is BoyleSports' largest acquisition to date, bringing its total number of shops in Northern Ireland to 39, its number of shops on the island of Ireland to 298 and its total retail footprint across Ireland and the UK to 317 shops.
This acquisition, which represents a full takeover of all William Hill retail operations in both Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, is a significant step in BoyleSports ambition to grow its UK retail network to 100 shops by the end of 2020.
Conor Gray, chief executive of BoyleSports, said:
"BoyleSports is delighted to realise its long-held ambition to develop a meaningful retail presence across Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Indeed, John Boyle opened the first ever BoyleSports in Markethill, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1982, so increasing our presence in Northern Ireland many years later is significant on many fronts. This acquisition complements our existing retail network in Northern Ireland and our retail network in the Republic of Ireland while also representing a significant step in our long-stated ambition to develop our retail footprint across the UK.
"The Government's 2018 decision to impose a 100pc increase in betting duty has, as predicted by all Irish bookmakers, led to dramatic consolidation of the industry, with previously thriving betting companies now permanently closing their doors. Although BoyleSports expects some participation in that forced consolidation to some degree, the increase in betting duty has meant that the focus of future expansion and investment will be outside the Republic of Ireland."
Although the acquisition takes immediate effect, BoyleSports will only take operational control in 30 days to allow the company to engage fully with its 220 new employees. All of the stores being acquired will be rebranded as BoyleSports outlets. In line with the BoyleSports business model all of the new shops will be upgraded to bring them up to the industry-leading standard which BoyleSports customers have come to expect and enjoy.