Bookmaker William Hill is preparing to rebrand Stanley Leisure’s estate of more than 600 betting shops after it bought the outlets in a &£504m deal.
The purchase, now approved by both companies’ shareholders, will give William Hill the biggest high street presence of any bookmaker in the UK, overtaking Ladbrokes, although the deal still needs final approval from the Office of Fair Trading.
Until the sale is officially authorised, Stanley shops will continue to operate independently under the Stanley brand. However, William Hill has begun the process of introducing its new in-store technology systems into Stanley outlets.
William Hill’s creative agency Poulter Partners has prepared an in-store advertising push advising Stanley customers that the bookmakers has changed hands.
A total of 140 Stanley Leisure head office staff are affected by the deal, although only two are marketers.
Most Stanley staff will be relocated to William Hill’s Leeds offices from their current base in Liverpool when the deal is approved. The company says that the marketers should join William Hill’s staff when the operations are integrated.
William Hill says it may offload some of Stanley’s 624 shops to independent retailers, but it hopes to retain the vast majority of the estate.
The purchase also gives William Hill a presence in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands for the first time.