Caesars Agrees to Buy William Hill in $3.7 Billion Deal

Caesars Agrees to Buy William Hill in $3.7 Billion Deal
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Just days after its interest in buying William Hill became public, Caesars Entertainment agreed on Wednesday to purchase the British bookmaker for about $3.7 billion.

The purchase gives Caesars control of an ever-changing and expanding U.S. sports-betting and online business. It is expected to close during the second half of 2021, Caesars said in a news release. It requires anti-trust and regulatory approval before becoming final.


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Caesars also intends to find alternative owners for William Hill's non-U.S. businesses, which includes more than 1,400 UK betting shops. Potential suitors include Betfred and 888, according to overseas reports. Caesars said it could integrate William Hill’s U.S. business into its own with minimal, if any, job cuts.

William Hill acknowledged on Sept. 25 that Caesars Entertainment and Apollo Global Management, an investment firm based in New York City, had made proposals to purchase the company.

On Monday, Caesars announced a public offering of 30 million shares of its common stock to help in its takeover bid of William Hill. On Tuesday, Caesars announced that the public offering price would be $56 per share.

On Wednesday the William Hill purchase was announced. The bid was about a 25% premium to William Hill’s closing share price before the takeover interest, according to published reports.

“The opportunity to combine our land-based casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the U.S. is a truly exciting prospect,” Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars, said in the news release. “William Hill’s sports-betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to serve our customers in the fast-growing U.S. sports betting and online market.”

When the public offering was announced on Monday, Caesars said a successful bid by Apollo would result in the William Hill joint venture losing its rights to operating sports books at Caesars casinos, according to Bloomberg.

Focus on US for Caesars

Caesars said it expects its sports and online gaming business in the U.S. to generate between $600 and $700 million in net revenue in Fiscal Year 2021. Its strategic focus will be on capitalizing on the U.S. opportunities.

The company will look to sell its UK and international businesses, according to the news release, saying “following completion of the acquisition, Caesars' intention is to seek suitable partners or owners who have aligned objectives and approaches, and who will be focused on the longer-term ambitions of those businesses and for the benefit of its customers.”

Roger Devlin, chairman of William Hill, said in the news release that “in terms of our U.K. and international businesses, we believe they have a strong future ahead and we will work with Caesars to find suitable partners to further the long-term growth prospects of these businesses."

"The William Hill Board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders. It recognizes the significant progress the William Hill Group has made over the last 18 months, as well as the risk and significant investment required to maximize the U.S. opportunity given intense competition in the U.S. and the potential for regulatory disruption in the U.K. and Europe."

Busy Year for Caesars

Eldorado bought Caesars in a $17.3 billion deal that was finalized in July. The combined company operates under the Caesars Entertainment brand and trades publicly on Nasdaq under CZR.

Caesars and William Hill operate a U.S. joint venture with 20% and 80% equity ownership, according to the news release. William Hill runs online sports betting operations through Caesars' market access in each state and retail sports betting operations at Caesars' properties.

Owing and operating 54 facilities in 16 states, the resorts are under the Caesars, Harrah's, Horseshoe and Eldorado brand names.

William Hill and Caesars had discussed over the summer merging some of their iGaming operations in the U.S.

William Hill’s US Growth

Founded in 1934, William Hill is one of the world’s largest sports betting companies with offices in 10 countries, according to its website. It has 170 sportsbooks in the U.S., including more than 100 in Nevada.

In June 2018, William Hill opened its first retail sportsbook in New Jersey at Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport.

It opened the first sportsbook at a professional sports venue in the U.S. this July. 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.

ESPN announced multi-year partnerships with DraftKings and Caesar’s Entertainment/William Hill on Sept. 14. 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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