City news sources report that New York investment fund Apollo Global Management will bid to acquire William Hill Plc’s ‘non-US assets’, as the FTSE250 firm moves to merge with US strategic partner Caesars Entertainment.
Apollo had formally announced its intentions to bid for an outright acquisition of William Hill. However, the investment fund’s pursuit of the heritage UK betting group was undone by Caesars’ £2.9 billion deal forcing William Hill’s hand.
Caesars’ offer has been recommended to William Hill investors, with company chairman Roger Devlin underlining that a Caesars-Hill’s tie-up secures ‘the best foundations from which to accelerate William Hill’s US multi-state wagering ambitions’.
William Hill’s board had allowed Apollo until 12 November to declare its bid for review, however, the investment fund is reported to have changed its strategy focusing on securing William Hill’s European subsidiaries.
Caesars has yet to publish its prospectus with regards to how it will restructure William Hill under its ownership.
Industry observers have stated that it is highly likely that Caesars will sanction a sell-off for all William Hill non-US assets, as the Nasdaq gambling group completes back-to-back deals in 2020 having merged with Eldorado Resorts to form North America’s biggest casino and hospitality business.
A new look Caesars will be reluctant to be anchored to William Hill’s European assets, though, as the firm is pressured by its investors to establish US wagering’s first mass-market proposition.
Attention has now shifted to how Caesars will choose to divest William Hill’s UK and European subsidiaries, as suitors state their intent to acquire assets.
Betfred founder Fred Done is reported to be eyeing a discounted buyout of William Hill’s UK estates having netted a £170 million from Caesars takeover. He secured a 6% stake prior to the deal, taking advantage of William Hill’s ‘pandemic share price’.
Meanwhile, FTSE competitor 888 Holdings noted in its interim statement that it was monitoring William Hill developments closely with regards to the digital assets of William Hill Online and Scandinavian online casino Mr Green.
Yet to participate in global betting’s multi-billion M&A field, 888’s board marked William Hill and Mr Green as targets to expand the firm’s sportsbook ambitions and further advance its growth within regulated European markets.