Caesars Entertainment, a Las Vegas-based operator, has made a £2.9 billion offer to purchase William Hill, one the UK’s biggest bookmakers. The offer is in an effort to outbid the initial offer made by the private asset management giant, Apollo Global Management.
Caesars Entertainment has confirmed that it is currently in advanced talks with William Hill over the offer of 272 pence per share, about 25% above the bookmaker’s share price.
The casino operator has expressed interest in the UK firm’s bookmaking business as it has over 150 sites in 13 of the USA’s 52 states. This offer will greatly leverage its current its existing joint operations as the Las Vegas-based operator already owns a 20% stake in the bookmaker’s USA operations while the London-based bookmaker has built its USA presence through its exclusive rights to offer its sports betting portfolio under the Caesars brand.
The purchase offer does have some strings attached to it as Caesars warned that if William Hill did not go through with its offer and took Apollo Global Management’s offer instead, the casino operator will terminate key linkups with the bookmaker, dealing a massive blow to its current and future USA aspirations. With the offer in place, the bookmaker has confirmed that it would recommend Caesars’ proposed purchase to its shareholders.
Tom Reeg, Caesars’ chief executive officer has commented on this recent news saying that the opportunity to combine the company’s land-based casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect. He lauded William Hill’s long-running sports betting expertise and also said that this will complement the company’s current offerings. He further went on to say that if this deal would push through, the combined group will be able to better serve its customers in the USA’s fast-growing sports betting and online gaming market. Finally, Reeg has mentioned that the company is looking forward to working with William Hill to support future growth in the US by providing its customers with a superior and comprehensive experience across all areas of gaming, sports betting, and entertainment.
With the current rise of online gaming and betting services, it comes to no surprise that Caesars wants to combine all of it and its partner’s current offerings which include land-based casinos, sports betting and online gaming services under one brand.
William Hill’s stock price went up by around 40% on Friday to a 52-week high of 313 pence per share after the purchase announcements were made public by Caesars and Apollo. As of Tuesday, 29 September, shares fell back down to 274 pence per share, just above Caesars’ offer.
William Hill is a long-running name in the UK’s sports betting industry. It was founded in 1934 and its betting shops are a common sight across the UK ever since. At its peak, the brand had more than 14,000 operating branches but has lessened to around 1,400, as tougher regulation, online service growth, and the COVID pandemic have impacted its profitability adversely.
As it stands, the growing demand for sports betting and online services across the USA is a goldmine for William Hill as it can definitely showcase its sports betting expertise