William Hill's trading statement for the unaudited 52 weeks ended December 29 shows that the company's total net revenue for the fourth quarter grew nine per cent year-on-year.
Sportsbook staking increased 16 per cent, driven by enhanced products and geographical expansion, while gross win margins benefited from favourable sporting results, driving group sportsbook net revenue up 20 per cent year-on-year. "2020 has been an extraordinary year with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on live sport, national and regional lockdowns in our retail business and the effect of trading a smaller retail estate, meaning that total group net revenue for the year decreased by 16 per cent to £1.3bn," the company stated.
"Customer protection remains one of our highest priorities and throughout the year we implemented extensive player safety measures to safeguard our customers."
On September 30, the boards of William Hill, Caesars UK Bidco and Caesars Entertainment announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition pursuant to which Caesars UK Bidco shall acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of William Hill not already owned by or on behalf of the Caesars Group for a cash price of 272p per share.
"We are pleased that the requisite majority of shareholders approved the scheme of arrangement in relation to the acquisition. Caesars' current expectation is that the remaining approvals required to be obtained from the relevant US gaming authorities will be obtained in time to allow completion of the acquisition to occur early in the second quarter of 2021, but possibly as early as March 2021."
Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO, commented: "2020 was a year like no other. It tested our agility and flexibility and we delivered, keeping our customers and team safe, whilst materially improving our competitive position through product enhancements and geographical expansion.
"The offer received for the group recognises the substantial progress we have made as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead of us. I remain immensely proud of the William Hill team which has been relentless in its focus on delivering a great product and service to our customers, with player safety at its heart."