Billionaire bookmaker Fred Done is keen to back the proposed £ 2.9 billion acquisition of William Hill by US casino giant Caesars Entertainment Inc., sources close to the businessman told The Telegraph.
Mr. Done has been building a stake in William Hill for about a year and this spring became the largest investor in the company.
Caesars made a formal offer to acquire William Hill for £ 2.9 billion at the end of September. The bookmaker’s board unanimously recommended the deal and it will now be put to a shareholder vote on Thursday, November 19.
Mr Done, founder and owner of the British gambling company Betfred, will vote in favor of the transaction. The billionaire businessman was said to have been “considering all options” until this weekend.
Your informed support for the agreement represents the Strongest Sign So Far That William Hill Investors Will Support Caesars Offer, which will make the casino operator pay 272 pence per William Hill share. Mr Done’s stake in the betting company is worth approximately £ 170 million.
Reports emerged last month that the businessman himself was considering a rival bid for William Hill, but a spokesman for Mr. Done denied them.
A bidding war
Caesars’ offer is subject to a vote by William Hill shareholders, as well as regulatory and other approvals. If the proposed acquisition survives all obstacles, the casino operator expects finish it in the second half of 2021.
Caesars said in September that it plans get rid of William Hill’s business outside the United States and focus solely on the bookmaker’s US operations. The British operator has sportsbooks on Caesars properties in the US and the casino operator already owns a 20% stake in William Hill’s US business.
The betting company once operated the largest chain of betting shops in the UK. Nowadays manages 1,400 sites after closing 700 stores last year due to the crackdown on controversial fixed odds betting terminals. The company closed an additional 119 locations in August due to economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Several potential bidders for William Hill’s assets outside of the United States have emerged, ranging from private equity firms to gambling operators. GVC Holdings CEO Shay Segev said last week that if the price is right, the purchase of William Hill’s UK and international business is “Something we can definitely consider.”
888 Holdings last month also showed interest in the bookmaker’s assets outside of the United States. The two companies have had M&A talks twice in the past, but never reached an agreement between them.
Private equity firms CVC Partners and Apax Partners they have also been related to the possibility of making an offer for William Hill’s operations outside the United States. Also, Wall Street acquisitions giant Apollo Global Management said last week that it was potentially interested in these deals.
Apollo made an informal full takeover offer for William Hill in late September, but the bookmaker eventually accepted Caesars’ offer. The private equity firm said last week that while it was no longer interested in buying the entire gambling company, Bidding for his business outside of the United States was something he had been considering.