William Hill shareholders strongly backed Caesars Entertainment Inc.’s £ 2.9 billion offer to acquire the UK gambling giant, fulfilling a key condition for the mega deal to go through.
More than 86% of the votes cast at shareholders’ meetings held on Thursday favored the transaction. The deal is still subject to regulatory approvals, as well as final approval from the English Court. Caesars said it now expects to close the acquisition in March 2021.
Earlier this week reports emerged that William Hill’s biggest shareholder, billionaire bookmaker Fred Done, owner of rival betting company Betfred, had decided vote in favor of Caesars’ purchase proposal after “considering all options.”
Commenting on obtaining sufficient support from shareholders, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said that they “continue to work to meet the remaining regulatory conditions and look forward to complete the transaction next year. “ Mr. Reeg added that once the transaction closes, Caesars will integrate William Hill’s US business into the casino company’s existing sports betting and online gaming franchise.
Caesars already It owns 20% of American assets William Hill through a joint venture formed by the UK sportsbook and Eldorado Resorts in 2018. Caesars and Eldorado closed a $ 17.3 billion alliance last summer and the expanded group inherited the sports betting joint venture.
In 2018, Caesars and William Hill supposedly They explored a fusion of £ 6 billion which ultimately failed due to pricing disputes.
A Bidding War for Non-US Firms by William Hill
When it presented its formal offer in late September, Caesars said its plans for William Hill’s future involved growing the bookmaker’s business in the United States and that dispose of its assets outside the United States. William Hill runs a chain of UK gambling shops and online gambling operations in his home market and several regulated European markets.
When news broke in September that Caesars was courting William Hill and that acquisition giant Apollo Global Management was considering a rival bid, investors bet big on a heated auction for the former British bookmaker.
However, Caesars’ formal bid quickly turned what was expected to be an epic bidding war into a horse raceas it advised William Hill that it could exercise its right to terminate its exclusive sports betting association if the bookmaker accepted an offer from another bidder.
And while there was no bidding war for William Hill, one appears to be about to break out for the company’s operations outside the United States. Several private equity firms, including Apollo, CVC Partners and Apax PartnersThey have emerged as potential bidders.
Additionally, gambling operators 888 Holdings and GVC Holdings have also shown interest in William Hill’s UK and international operations. Mr. Done’s Betfred has also been rumored to be a potential bidder.