Bidding contest for William Hill assets to ensue after Caesars’ acquisition

The bidding contest for the remaining UK and European assets of UK high street and online betting operator William Hill has been initiated, following its acquisition by Caesars Entertainment two weeks ago.

Caesars had previously announced its intention to sell William Hill’s non-American assets following the finalisation of the £2.9bn, £2.72 per share takeover of the former LSE registered UK operator on 23 April.

According to The Telegraph, William Hill’s entire suite of retail high street betting shops, numbering around 1,400 in the UK and Ireland, as well as European and British online betting and gaming operators will be included in the sale, potentially generating around $1.5bn.

Apollo Global Management, the US private equity firm which had previously competed against Caesars for the initial acquisition, is reportedly the front runner in the bidding contest, having previously been granted access to the firm’s books.

If successful, the Telegraph has reported that ‘it would be expected’ for Apollo to integrate William Hill’s European divisions into its Italian subsidiary Gamenet, with a particular focus on enhancing its sports betting capabilities.

The Isareli Shaked business family, the founding shareholders behind online casino, poker and sportsbook operator 888 Holdings, have also entered the bidding process.

888’s interest follows its strong Q1 2021 trading results, reporting a 56 per cent revenue increase to $272.5m, largely driven by the success of its casino offerings in regulated markets throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888 Holdings, had previously commented on an acquisition of William Hill assets, stating: “We have mentioned William Hill in the past, that could be something that we would be looking at. And I won’t change my comment on that.”

Other potential contenders could include Swedish operator Kindred, which is reportedly interested in incorporating the remaining William Hill products such as popular online casino Mr Green into its portfolio, which already includes 32Red and Betsson.

Betfred-owner, Fred Done who is reportedly primarily interested in integrating William Hill’s extensive network of betting shops into his own business. If successful this would account for 44pc of the UK’s offline, retail betting market.

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