888 has terminated discussions with FS Gaming over a proposal which could have led to senior appointments on its board from FS Gaming.
FS Gaming, led by Kenny Alexander and other former Entain chiefs, took a 6.6% stake in 888 in June, with a plan to appoint Alexander as the CEO of 888 following Itai Pazner’s departure in January.
However, Entain’s Turkish business has come under the spotlight of a HMRC bribery probe, with 888 stating on Friday that in considering FS Gaming’s proposal, the board “examined all potential risks related to this,” including potential historical misconduct involving former employees relating to the Turkish business.
888 added that the UK Gambling Commission has “expressed its concern regarding the ongoing HMRC investigation into GVC’s activities covering the time the individuals proposed to the board by FS Gaming were in senior leadership positions at GVC, and that it is in close dialogue with HMRC regarding its ongoing investigation.”
The Gambling Commission has subsequently demanded a licence review in light of FS Group’s investment in 888 and the proposal. 888 said it has concluded that “the appointments proposed by FS Gaming have no reasonable prospect of being approved by the GBGC at this time.”
As such, 888 has now terminated ties with FS Gaming.
Lord Mendelsohn, executive chair of 888, said: “As a Board we devoted significant time to considering FS Gaming’s proposal. However, following in-depth regulatory due diligence including engaging closely with the GBGC, the board had no option but to terminate discussions as it simply could not put licences in our largest market at significant risk.”