Private equity firms are believed to be doing the numbers on William Hill’s operations outside of the United States after the British sportsbook accepted a £ 2.9 billion offer from casino giant Caesars Entertainment Inc.
Caesars has revealed plans to divest itself of William Hill’s UK network of retail gambling shops, as well as the operator’s European operations after the proposed acquisition finalizes.
According to recent reports, procurement firms CVC Partners and Apax Partners They are preparing bids for William Hill’s European division. The news about private equity groups’ interest in the company comes shortly after reports that Apollo Global Management was preparing an offering for bookmakers and other assets outside of the US.
Apollo previously approached William Hill with an informal full takeover offer, but the legacy gaming operator accepted Caesars’ offer.
The Telegraph reported that both CVC and Apax are preparing offers of around £ 1.5 billion for William Hill’s assets outside the US Neither group has commented on this.
Reports emerged in early October that billionaire bookmaker Fred Done (owner of Betfred) was interested in William Hill’s operations in the UKBut a spokesperson for Mr. Done eventually said that neither the businessman nor Betfred would bid on the bookmaker.
Mr. Done has accumulated a significant stake in William Hill since March to become a major shareholder in the company.
Lockdown affects earnings
William Hill recently warned that England’s second nationwide lockdown, which took effect last week, would significantly affect earnings. The new Covid-19 measures resulted in the closure of all betting shops and other gambling establishments in all the country.
The company said in a trade statement last week that it estimates that “on average, closing 100 stores over four weeks would reduce EBITDA by around £ 2 million.”
The closure of gambling venues across the country is another major blow to William Hill’s retail betting arm. Last year, the company was forced to close 700 betting shops after the government cracked down on controversial fixed odds betting terminals. It also announced last August that it would permanently close 119 retail gambling locations as it did not expect to reach pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.
Caesars’ acquisition of the bookmaker is subject to William Hill shareholders voting in favor. The transaction will be put to a shareholder vote on November 19.
Caesars already owns a 20% stake in the American division of William Hill. The casino operator inherited the partnership with the British sportsbook from former Eldorado Resorts when Eldorado and former Caesars closed a $ 17.3 billion alliance this summer.
Eldorado and William Hill teamed up in 2018 to jointly explore the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. As part of their partnership, William Hill became the exclusive sports betting operator on the Eldorado properties. After the combination of Eldorado and Caesars, the British sportsbook also became the exclusive operator of betting facilities on Caesars properties.
When it submitted its offer to acquire William Hill, Caesars said it could exercise the right to terminate aspects of its US joint venture with the sports betting operator if the latter chose to accept a rival takeover from other potential bidders.