William Hill bets $100 mln on Australian online bookmaker

MELBOURNE Thu Aug 8, 2013 7:28pm EDT

MELBOURNE Aug 9 (Reuters) - British betting giant William Hill Plc has agreed to buy Australian online betting firm Tom Waterhouse NT for up to A$110 million ($100 million) including debt, looking to become Australia's biggest online bookmaker.

William Hill, the world's largest betting agency by market value, has agreed to pay A$34 million up front and assume A$6 million in debt for tomwaterhouse.com, in a country that has the world's biggest gambling habit per capita.

It will pay up to A$70 million more on a sliding scale based on tomwaterhouse.com achieving earnings growth between A$10 million and A$30 million in 2015.

The takeover adds to William Hill's Centrebet business in Australia and follows its acquisition of Sportingbet PLC's Australian arm for A$670 million earlier this year, taking on Tabcorp Holdings Ltd in its home market.

"Acquiring tomwaterhouse.com gives us a rapidly growing business that appeals to a wider customer base," William Hill Chief Executive Ralph Topping said in a statement.

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