William Hill Receives Offer from Caesars and Apollo For a Potential Takeover

Caesars Entertainment
William Hill Plc announced last Friday that it has received separate offers from Caesars Entertainment Inc. and Apollo Global Management Inc. for a potential takeover.

The U.K.-based sports betting company said that talks on the two different cash proposals are ongoing but added that it remains uncertain if there will be a formal offer presented. William Hill said in a statement that both Apollo and Caesars have until October 23rd to make a formal offer or walk away from a potential deal as per UK takeover rules.

Per William Hill:

“Following an initial written proposal from Apollo on 27 August 2020, William Hill received a further proposal from Apollo and proposals from Caesars.”

Shares Surge

Shares of William Hill surged as much as 41% in London trading on Friday, which was an intraday record. The UK bookmaker now has a market value of about $4B. Rival betting companies also saw their stock rise last Friday with GVC Holdings Plc putting on an extra 15.5% and Flutter Entertainment Plc gaining 6.7%. Similarly, shares for Apollo was up by almost 3% while Caesars jumped by as much as 8.4%.

Apollo has a history of making investments in the gambling sector. In 2008, it joined forces with TPG for the buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. which was subsequently renamed as Caesars. Last year, the buyout firm also acquired a share in Italy’s Gamenet Group SpA.

Partnership With Caesars

William Hill already has a partnership with Caesars. Earlier this month, it was announced that Caesars had forged a deal with ESPN to link William Hill’s sports betting app in states where sports betting is already legalized in the United States. William Hill has also been appointed as the official odds provider of ESPN and as such, it will appear in all of ESPN’s platforms.

Last month, ESPN opened a high-tech studio at the Linq Hotel + Experience. The 6,000 square foot facility has been tabbed as the epicenter of ESPN’s sports-betting themed content. ESPN’s “Daily Wager” program was also transferred to the new studio which will broadcast Las Vegas-exclusive sports betting and entertainment news.

One of the World’s Largest Sportsbooks

William Hill is one of the largest sportsbooks in the world with offices in 10 different countries. Since Chief Executive Officer Ulrik Bengtsson took over last year, the company has been focused on building its online business.

Since the United States Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, William Hill has been building up its presence in the U.S. The American market has become more attractive for the company after UK gambling regulators slapped a stake limit on betting machines. This regulation led to the closure of 700 shops in Great Britain.