Apollo & Caesars Interested in Taking Over William Hill

Apollo & Caesars Interested in Taking Over William Hill
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William Hill could be on the selling block.

New York-based Apollo Global Management and Caesars Entertainment have each submitted separate cash proposals to take over the United Kingdom-based gambling group William Hill.

In a statement Friday, William Hill confirmed both proposals:

"Following an initial written proposal from Apollo on August 27, William Hill received a further proposal from Apollo and proposals from Caesars,” the statement said. “Discussions between William Hill and the respective parties are ongoing. There can be no certainty that any offer for William Hill will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made.”

CHECK OUT: Q&A With William Hill US CEO Joe Asher on Responsible Gambing

Talks are ongoing and a further statement will be made if and when appropriate, the company said. Reuters reported that Apollo and Caesars have until Oct. 23 to either announce a firm intention to make an offer or walk away.

A Boost to William Hill Shares

Shares of the bookmaker surged as much as 41% in London trading on Friday, a record for intra-day trading, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the bids. The company now has a market value of about $4 billion.

Apollo is no stranger to investing within the gambling landscape, teaming up with TPG for a 2008 leveraged buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., later renamed Caesars Entertainment.

In 2019, it also acquired a stake in Italy’s Gamenet Group SpA.

William Hill is already a sportsbook partner of Caesars and the two have discussed merging some of their iGaming operations here in the states, where William Hill is looking to build scale.

Founded in 1934, William Hill is one of the world’s largest sports betting companies with offices in 10 countries, according to its website. Under Chief Executive Officer Ulrik Bengtsson, who took over a year ago, the company is focused on building its online businesses. Bengtsson was previously William Hill’s chief digital officer.

William Hill Sportsbooks on The Strip, in US

With William Hill completing the acquisition of CG Technology sportsbooks in Las Vegas, it now has a strong presence on the Las Vegas Strip.

When the Eldorado-Caesars merger was finalized in July, William Hill took over Caesars sportsbooks, giving it 170 books in 13 states, a market share of 29%, according to the company. William Hill has been the exclusive sportsbook for Eldorado properties since September 2018.

William Hill sportsbooks in Las Vegas now include those at Caesars, the Tropicana, Harrah’s, the Venetian, the Cosmopolitan and the Flamingo. The company went from having hardly any footprint in Las Vegas to having a major presence on The Strip.

In June 2018, William Hill opened its first bricks-and-mortar sportsbook in New Jersey at historic Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport.

This July, it opened the first sportsbook at a professional sports venue in the U.S.

Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. — home to the NBA’s Wizards, WNBA's Mystics and NHL’s Capitals — now houses a William Hill sportsbook in a temporary location. The permanent sportsbook should open later this year. William Hill posted an August sports handle of $9.1 million in D.C., far better than the lottery-run sports betting app there.

On Aug. 1, William Hill opened its first Illinois retail sportsbook at the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago, and will soon offer mobile sports betting in Illinois after regulatory approval.

On Sept. 14, ESPN announced multi-year partnerships with DraftKings and Caesar’s Entertainment/William Hill. The deal includes link integrations from ESPN’s digital platforms to William Hill sportsbooks in legalized sports betting states and will appear on ESPN.com and the ESPN Fantasy app.

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