Caesars kicks off bidding contest for William Hill’s UK and European assets

Caesars Entertainment has announced it will begin the bidding contest for the UK and European assets of William Hill.

This comes after the US casino operator completed its take over of the UK-based bookmaker last month.

When the £2.9bn deal was announced in September last year, Caesars stated that its main target of the transaction was William Hill’s US sports betting business and technology. 

The US casino giant said it intended to sell off the rest of William Hill’s assets once the deal was completed.

Caesars to sell William Hill assets

According to a report in The Telegraph, the sale will include all of William Hill’s retail betting shops as well as its British and European online divisions. Some analysts predict this could generate $1.5bn for Caesars.

The US private equity fund Apollo Global Management is said to be one of the two main contenders for the bid. Apollo previously competed against Caesars for the acquisition of William Hill last year.

If Apollo is successful in its bid, it “would be expected” that it would combine the William Hill assets with its Italian subsidiary Gamenet.

The telegraph report also suggests that Israeli Shaked business family, which was the founding shareholders behind the online sports betting and casino operator 888 Holdings, are interested in the bookmaker’s assets.

Other potential bidders could include Fred Done, owner of the retail giant Betfred, who is reportedly interested in integrating William Hill’s network of betting shops into his own.

Swedish operator Kindred is also reportedly interested in the remaining William Hill assets, such as the Mr Green brand, and incorporating them into its portfolio. Kindred currently owns the Betsson and 32Red online casino brands.

Caesars completes William Hill acquisition

Last month, the US casino giant completed its acquisition of William Hill on 22 April after receiving approval from the High Court of Justice in England and Wales.

Initially, the deal was meant to close on 1 April, however a legal challenge from HBK Investments delayed approval of the deal.

HBK argued that shareholders were not correctly informed on the details of the takeover. The firm’s main concerns surrounded William Hill’s joint venture with Eldorado Resorts from 2019

The deal saw Caesars acquire all of William Hill’s 1.08bn shares at a price of £2.72 per share.

After the deal received approval, William Hill’s shares were de-listed and suspended before the market opened on 22 April.

Once the deal was agreed upon, Caesars began the process of securing legal approval in the US from the relevant regulatory authorities in states where the operator conducts business. William Hill shareholders voted to approve the deal in November 2020.

The US casino operator said that the enlarged operation could generate up to $700m in net revenue during the 2021 financial year.