William Hill Shareholders OK $3.7 Billion Caesars Deal
Caesars Entertainment’s acquisition of the William Hill sports betting company took another step forward Thursday when William Hill PLC announced shareholder approval for the approximately $3.7 billion sale by “requisite majorities.”
A news release noted that the “cash offer from Caesars was approved by the requisite majorities, subject to the satisfaction of the remaining outstanding regulatory conditions and final approval of the English Court.”
William Hill and Caesars continue to march toward obtaining necessary regulatory approvals required to close the transaction with the deal’s timeline targeting March 2021 for Caesars to complete the acquisition.
"We are pleased to have received William Hill shareholder support for our recommended cash offer,” Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said in a news release. “We continue to work toward satisfying the remaining regulatory conditions and look forward to completing the transaction next year and integrating William Hill U.S. into our Caesars sports betting and iGaming franchise."
Caesars and William Hill were already closely aligned. Caesars previously owned 20% of William Hill US with William Hill sportsbooks in about a dozen Caesars casinos in several states.
William Hill Sportsbooks In Caesars
Now, all or most Caesars properties in the U.S. will feature William Hill sportsbooks. Meanwhile, it is also likely that Caesars will shed William Hill’s extensive sprawl of sportsbooks overseas which includes more than 1,400 UK betting shops. Potential suitors include Betfred and 888, according to overseas reports. William Hill’s main headquarters is in London but William Hill US is based in Las Vegas and headed by CEO Joe Asher.
In September, it became public that investment firm Apollo Global Management, based in New York City, had made proposals to purchase the company rivaling Caesars’ interest in William Hill. However, it quickly became clear that William Hill’s footprint in Caesars casinos would vanish if the sportsbook fell under different ownership.
It has been a whirlwind year for Caesars full of exciting business deals and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eldorado Resorts — a much smaller company — bought Caesars in a $17.3 billion deal that was finalized in July. The newly constituted company operates as Caesars Entertainment and trades publicly on the Nasdaq under CZR.
Owing and/or operating approximately 50 facilities in more than a dozen states under the Caesars, Harrah's, Horseshoe and Eldorado brand names, the new Caesars company has had to lighten its portfolio by selling some properties, such as Bally’s in Atlantic City, who purchase by Twin River Worldwide Holdings was finalized Thursday. Twin River changed its name to Bally’s Corp.
An Active William Hill
Just before and after the deal with Caesars was announced on Sept. 30, William Hill was active in the U.S. market, including launching its mobile app in Illinois and Colorado within a week of each other.
In mid-September, ESPN and William Hill announced a deal includes link integrations from ESPN’s digital platforms to sportsbooks from William Hill (located in legalized sports betting states). They will appear on ESPN.com (both web and mobile) and the ever-popular ESPN Fantasy app. Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill will also become a sponsor of ESPN’s Fantasy products.
On Oct. 9, William Hill and Evolution Gaming, a provider of live casino solutions, announced they had reached an agreement for live casino gaming content and services across the U.S., beginning with New Jersey.
On Oct 15, the William Hill Sportsbook at Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester opened. It has six teller windows, 16 self-service kiosks and an expanded betting menu that features live, in-play wagering. Pennsylvania is the 14th state where William Hill operates a sportsbook, with more than 160 locations nationwide.
William Hill also announced on Oct. 15 what the permanent sportsbook at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., would look like. It’s the first sportsbook at a U.S. professional sports venue. The temporary retail site had a handle of $14.35 million in October, again easily outpacing the D.C. Lottery’s mobile app for the month.
In late October, Caesars Entertainment and William Hill US announced an agreement to be a sports betting partner of the Indianapolis Colts. It is the first NFL team sponsorship for Caesars and William Hill.
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