The proposed £2.9bn (US$3.85bn/€3.25bn) takeover of British bookies William Hill by Caesars Entertainment, the biggest casino and resorts operator in the United States, has moved one massive step closer to reality with WH shareholders voting overwhelmingly for the deal.
A total of 1,251 WH investors–some 80 per cent of shareholders–holding almost 87 per cent of the iconic firm’s stock, said yes to the buy-out: following their own best financial instincts and the advice of WH corporate management.
“We are pleased to have received William Hill shareholder support for our recommended cash offer,” said Caesars Chief Executive Tom Reed.
“We continue to work towards satisfying the remaining regulatory conditions and look forward to completing the transaction next year and integrating William Hill US into our Caesars sports betting and iGaming franchise.”
The William Hill buy-out is expected to immeasurably strengthen Caesars positioning and ability to exploit its growing media partnerships with US sports broadcasters ESPN and CBS Sports.
The remainder of William Hill Plc.—principally its non-US international gaming operations and the bricks and mortar UK betting shops—is expected to be sold off under separate purchase on a first-come first-sell basis once all takeover formalities and regulatory requirements have been finalised.
This is expected to be around Q2 2021, or March next year at the earliest.
Meantime, Apollo Global Management, the New York private equity fund, has formally killed its bid to buy WH in its entirety — following the news of the WH shareholders’ agreement with the proposed sale to Caesars.
Earlier this year Apollo made the first move on William Hill only to be trumped by Caesars’ £2.9bn bid.
Nevertheless Apollo, Betfred and 888 Holdings are still very much in the running to buy WH off-cuts.
Apollo has been particularly aggressive this year, hunting the Covid-scarred financial landscape for investments and deals in the rapidly shifting gaming sector.
Among their recent acquisitions: US$2.1bn (£1.58bn/€1.77bn) for North American casino and hospitality big hitters Great Canadian Gaming.