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William Hill Says Marketing Officer in Tel Aviv Resigned

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- William Hill Plc said Eyal Sanoff, chief marketing officer of the U.K. bookmaker’s William Hill Online marketing team in Tel Aviv, resigned and other senior managers are subject to disciplinary action in connection with “disruption” in offices there and in Manila and Bulgaria.

“Consumer-facing websites” are not being directly affected by the problems, and William Hill managers are in Tel Aviv “working through these issues,” the company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for more information.

About 180 employees walked out of the Tel Aviv office on Oct. 16 over concern that the company was seeking to transfer the functions to the U.K. or Gibraltar, according to the Scottish edition of the Sun newspaper. An analyst, Ivor Jones of Numis Securities, said a walkout could have “material impact” on the growth of William Hill’s online operations.

“This could leave WHO without its key marketing growth engine for some time,” Jones wrote in a note to investors. He lowered his recommendation to a “reduce” today from “hold” “Even if the current situation is quickly resolved, we believe it serves to highlight the uncertain future for WHO.”

William Hill dropped 12.7 pence, or 5.3 percent, to close at 228.8 pence in London. The shares have risen 34 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 1.6 billion pounds ($2.5 billion).

“The vast majority of employees of the marketing team in Tel Aviv have good working relationships with the business and with colleagues across William Hill Online,” the company said in the statement. “William Hill Online is committed to its sales and marketing operation in Tel Aviv and contrary to media reports has no intention of relocating this operation.”

To contact the reporter on this story: David Altaner in London at daltaner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at Ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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