William Hill Takeover: Breaking Up is Not Hard to Do

With William Hill shares up almost 50 per cent this year, to just over 272 pence per share, thanks in great part to a proposed £2.9bn (US$3.8bn/€3.2bn) takeover of the iconic British bookies by US giant Caesars Entertainment, the big cats are out — hunting for a slice of the action.

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management, who had their own audacious bid for William Hill (WH) trumped by Caesars, are now looking to commiserate by buying the firm’s 2,200 betting shops in the UK, it’s reported.

London’s landmark Playboy Club, along with Manchester235 casino, both owned by Caesars, could be thrown in as a sweetener for the deal.

Any sale of WH bricks-and-mortar would help ameliorate some of the cost of acquiring William Hill en toto. WH’s non-US assets are said to be worth anything from US$2bn to £4bn (£1.5bn-£3bn/€1.69bn-€3.38bn).

The United States is the fastest growing sports betting market in the world and Caesars Entertainment (CE) has made no secret about its determination to buy William Hill and acquire proprietary control of its money-spinning, future-focussed, sports betting and online iGaming expertise.

CE’s grand offer is to be put to William Hill shareholders at an extraordinary meeting in London this November 17.

If the bid is formally accepted, Caesars–which recently merged with Eldorado resorts, to form the largest casino and entertainment business in the United States– has signalled that it will move quickly to sell-off all of William Hill’s non-US assets.

Along with Apollo, Betfred originator Fred Done is also in the game to buy William Hill assets, it is further reported. Done has already leveraged £170m (US$224m/€189m) from the WH takeover saga and he’s now looking for another tranche of the pie.

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