William Hill plc (LSE: WMH) is one of the largest bookmakers in the United Kingdom.
Its headquarters is in the north London suburb of Wood Green and in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
The company was founded by William Hill in 1934 at a time when gambling was illegal in Britain. It changed hands many times being acquired by Sears Holdings in 1971, then by Grand Metropolitan in 1988, then by Brent Walker in 1989.
In September 1996 Brent Walker recouped £117m of the £685m it paid for William Hill when Grand Metropolitan were found to have exaggerated the company's profits at the time of the sale.
Japanese investment bank Nomura mounted a £700m leveraged buyout of William Hill in 1997, when Brent Walker collapsed with debts exceeding £1.3bn after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office which saw two directors given jail sentences.
In February 1999 a proposed stock market flotation was abandoned due to "weak interest" and Nomura offloaded the company to venture capitalists Cinven and CVC Capital Partners for £825m instead.
The company was eventually listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2002.