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William Hill downgraded to ‘hold’ by Deutsche Bank after challenging year

The German bank also trimmed its target price for the FTSE 250-listed firm to 205p from 210p, with the stock trading at 183.80p

William Hill sign at horse race

William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) shares fell on Friday after the bookmaker was downgraded to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ by Deutsche Bank in a review of the UK gaming sector, entitled 'The American Dream'.

The German bank also trimmed its target price for the FTSE 250-listed firm to 205p from 210p, with the stock trading at 183.80p, down 1.5% on Thursday's close.

READ: William Hill says bookmaking trends improving following mass shop closure

Deutsche Bank's analysts said: "2019 was a challenging year for the Online Gaming sector, which faced a wide range of regulatory hits. But the sector outperformed the UK market, helped by ongoing sector M&A."

However, they added: "The year finished on a more positive note. Boris Johnson's election victory in the UK should drive a more pragmatic approach to gambling regulation."

The analysts noted that the $2.7bn ascribed to DraftKings provides a benchmark for valuing the European operators' US interests, which had until recently been valued at zero.

They concluded: "We expect similar themes for FY20, with ongoing regulatory tightening in Europe but a further wave of consolidation/M&A and growing investor interest in the prospective upside from the US."

But Playtech upgraded

Elsewhere in the sector, Deutsche Bank upgraded its rating for FTSE 250-listed Playtech PLC (LON:PTEC) to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ and upped its target price to 471p from 425p.

Meanwhile, mid cap peers Flutter Entertainment PLC (LON:FLTR), the former Paddy Power Betfair group, and Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC), plus FTSE Small Cap Gamesys Group PLC (LON:GYS) all received upwards revision to their target prices by Deutsche Bank, to 8,900p from 8,300p, to 1,125p from 1,035p, and to 1,100p from 1,050p respectively.

Quick facts: William Hill PLC

Price: 214.4 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £2.25 billion

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