Caesars Entertainment’s proposed takeover of William Hill has been approved by the latter’s shareholders, paving the way for the “historic acquisition” to be completed next year.
In a virtual vote held on Thursday, over 86% of William Hill shareholders accepted Caesar Entertainment’s $3.7B bid for the U.K. bookmaker, subject to the approval of the English court. The number was easily more than the 75% needed to consummate the deal.
Both parties are said to be making progress towards securing all the necessary regulatory requirements needed to close the transaction. According to Caesars, they are expecting to conclude the deal by the end of the second quarter of 2021.
Said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg:
“We are pleased to have received William Hill shareholder support for our recommended cash offer. We will continue to work towards satisfying the remaining regulatory conditions and look forward to completing the transaction next year and integrating William Hill US into our Caesars sports betting and iGaming franchise.”
Focus on US Assets
Caesars Entertainment has made it clear that its focus is on William Hill’s U.S. bookmaking business which consists of 170 retail shops in 13 different states. The owners of Caesars Entertainment added that they intend to sell the U.K. bookmaker’s non-US operations, including 1,400 U.K. betting shops.
Last week, GVC Holdings CEO Shay Segov said via Bloomberg that his company is interested in making a bid for William Hill’s UK and European assets. Also reportedly interested in bidding for William Hill’s non-US assets is Apollo Management Corporation which previously backed out of a bidding war with Caesars Entertainment for the entire William Hill business. Apollo is said to be particularly interested in William Hill’s UK business. William Hill’s online revenue in the UK is twice as large as its overseas online income.
Last September, Caesars Entertainment agreed to a monumental acquisition of the British-based gambling company. The move was aimed at the expansion of its share in the U.S. sports betting industry which has exponentially grown since the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
Caesars Entertainment currently owns 20% of William Hill’s U.S. operations. Under the current partnership, William Hill has the exclusive right to operate sports betting under the Caesars brand. Caesars believes that merging the assets of both companies represents a compelling opportunity to improve the offering and experience for their customers.