Caesars to Buy Out William Hill Bookmakers in £2.9billion Deal

Caesars Entertainment have had a £2.9billion ($3.72billion) offer for bookmaker William Hill accepted by the UK companys board, a deal which will launch Caesars to the top of the US market, but leaves the UK operations under a cloud.

By: Andrew Burnett

A cash offer of 272p per share will now be put to William Hill shareholders, William Hill directors stating this week that they would "unanimously and unconditionally" recommend that the deal be accepted.

The deal comes at a time when sportsbetting in the US has gained significant traction, now legal in 18 states as well as the District of Columbia, and showing a marked uptick since the coronavirus pandemic started.

Caesars chief executive Tom Reeg said of the deal: "The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect."

Caesars Entertainment are the world’s largest casino and entertainment company, owners of the eponymous Caesars Palace as well as the WSOP and WSOP.com brands.

They also already own a 20% stake in William Hill’s US operations, and had expressly stated that a rival bid from Apollo Management Inc. would harm joint operations.

Roger Devlin, chairman of William Hill, stated: "The William Hill board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders."

Currently, William Hill’s US operation has 117 ‘bricks and mortar’ outlets across 13 states, which will be the main focus for Caesars. However, in the UK it could see their roughly 1400 betting shops sold off.

Last month William Hill revealed that 119 of its high street shops would not be reopening due to expected reduced demand following the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen the majority of bettors move online.

News of the proposed deal saw Caesars stock up close to 8% to just over $57per share, while William Hill shares were up over 40%.

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