888 officially rebrands to Evoke plc

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888’s full-year results saw revenue of £1.70bn for the twelve months, a rise of 37.0%, although net loss continued year-on-year – albeit much lower than in 2022.

The rebrand was subject to shareholder approval, which was gained today (13 May) at 888’s annual general meeting (AGM). A total of 284,646,548 votes were cast in favour of the move versus 595,372 votes against. In addition, 24,741 votes were withheld.

888 will begin trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) under the symbol EVOK once the rebrand is complete. Announcing the official change to Evoke on LinkedIn today, 888 said that Evoke represented a new beginning.

“Today, we officially start our next chapter as Evoke plc,” read the post. “Evoke is a symbol of our new direction. A direction that builds on our strengths and allows us to move forward as one multi-brand group with a united strategy, vision and identity.

“It also better reflects our mission: to make life more interesting by delighting players with world-class betting and gaming experiences. We’re excited to share more from Evoke in the weeks and months ahead.”

Today’s AGM also saw shareholders vote to re-elect a number of directors and elect 888 CEO Per Widerström as a director. Ernst and Young LLP and EY Limited were also re-appointed as the company’s auditors.

Rebrand forms part of wider 888 strategy

When it was first announced, Widerström said Evoke would be a chance to “reset” 888.

“We have a lot of work to do. It is a reset of the business,” he said. “But we know exactly what success looks like and we have a clear strategy to get there. This will be delivered with a laser-focus on execution.”

888 had emphasised that the rebrand would form part of a larger strategy to improve profits, called the value creation plan. This consists of six strategic initiatives and began with Widerström’s appointment as CEO last year, followed by the appointment of a strengthened executive team. This strategy was also outlined alongside 888’s FY results.

One of the more prominent initiatives is Operations 2.0, wherein Evoke will leverage AI to improve its day-to-day operations.

“I am a huge fan of AI, used in the right way,” Widerström said in March. “As outlined today, Operations 2.0 is all about the right way [to implement AI].”

888 rebrand comes after chaotic year

888’s agreed rebrand to Evoke plc comes after a hectic year for the business. In June, FS Gaming – an investment vehicle backed by former GVC (now Entain) CEO Kenny Alexander – took a 6.57% stake in 888.

Following this, FS Gaming proposed that three former Entain executives take control of 888. This would have seen Alexander become CEO. Former Entain chair Lee Feldman would also become chair at 888 and Stephen Morana become CFO.

The GB Gambling Commission launched a review into 888 the following month, citing the HMRC investigation into Entain’s historic Turkish operations. This investigation was concluded in November last year, with Entain agreeing to pay £585.0m in a deferred prosecution agreement.

In August FS Gaming terminated its voting rights deal with Shay Segev, a former Entain chief. The Commission announced that it would take no action against 888 over Alexander’s attempted management takeover in March.

Last month, 888Sport was also named as one of more than 40 operators that were blacklisted by the Dominican Republic, as the country begins to re-regulate.

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