Caesars Entertainment and William Hill have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition that will see Caesars acquire the entire share capital of William Hill for approximately £2.9bn.
The historic acquisition would bring together Caesars as one of the largest gaming entertainment companies in the US and one of the world's most diversified gaming entertainment provision, and William Hill as one of the world's leading betting and gambling companies. The acquisition is subject to anti-trust and regulatory approvals and completion is expected to take place in the second half of 2021.
"The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect," said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg. "William Hill's sports betting expertise will complement Caesars' current offering, enabling the combined group to serve our customers in the fast-growing US sports betting and online market.
"We look forward to working with William Hill to support future growth in the US by providing our customers with a superior and comprehensive experience across all areas of gaming, sports betting and entertainment."
"The William Hill Board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders," said Roger Devlin, chairman of William Hill. "It recognises the significant progress the William Hill Group has made over the last 18 months, as well as the risk and significant investment required to maximise the US opportunity, given intense competition in the US and the potential for regulatory disruption in the UK and Europe.
"Under the revitalised senior leadership team, William Hill has been delivering on its strategy and potential. William Hill is one of the world's leading betting and gambling companies, with a long and proud heritage. It is one of the most recognised brands globally.
"Over recent years, it has transformed from a business once heavily reliant on UK retail into a company that is truly diversified by geography and channel, providing a stable standalone platform for future growth.
"For now, it is very much business as usual. Employees will be kept fully informed through this process. In terms of our UK and International businesses, we believe they have a strong future ahead and we will work with Caesars to find suitable partners to further the long-term growth prospects of these businesses."
While the Hill board has backed Caesars’ bid for the group today, there is another option coming up, say some parts of the UK press.
According to today’s Daily Mail, big UK bookmakers the Done brothers are set to make a bid for the group’s bookmakers’ shops. They plan to make £172m from their six per cent stake in Hill if the Caesars bid is successful. However, they are also thought to be ready to take over the betting shops side of the business, which Caesars is not interested in.
Caesars has already said that it would seek suitable partners for the other UK assets. The Done brothers already have 1,500 shops in their Betfred chain.