SBC News Caesars announces closure of £2.9bn William Hill takeover

Caesars announces closure of £2.9bn William Hill takeover

Caesars Entertainment has announced the final closure of its £2.9 billion takeover of Gibraltar-registered online and retail betting operator William Hill.

Under the terms of the transaction, Caesars will acquire all of William Hill’s online and offline assets, intending to sell all non-US business divisions, including the UK and international online verticals, as well as the operator’s extensive suite of retail betting outlets.

William Hill’s US-based retail operations currently represent a 29% market share in the country, with a total of 170 operational outlets.

The merger means that the combined company currently offers sports wagering products in 18 US jurisdictions, of which 13 provide online mobile sports betting; a leading figure for the sector.

Caesars intends on enhancing its customer service capabilities by providing a ‘single-wallet offering of sports betting and online gaming products across the enterprise in the future’.

“We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of William Hill, combining two of the premier operations in the sports betting and iGaming industries under one roof,” said Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment. “We look forward to announcing future sports partnerships that will drive long-term growth.”

Caesars were represented on the transaction by Deutsche Bank, Latham & Watkins, LLP and Linklaters LLP, whilst Barclays Bank Plc, Citigroup Global Markets Ltd and PJT Partners, whilst Slaughter & May represented William Hill.

The US entertainment conglomerate’s acquisition of the British bookmaker was initially announced on 30 September and recommended to William Hill shareholders by the firm’s board, with the offer equating to £2.72 per share.

William Hill then confirmed in March of this year that it would delist from the London Stock Exchange by 1 April, ending all FTSE transactions by 6 April.

However, key company stakeholders WM Asset Management and HBK Capital Management had earlier objected to the finalised agreement, stating that they had not been given adequate notice by the board of William Hill.

The subsequent three-week delay allowed hedge funds such as Sand Grove, TIG and Melart to purchase stakes in William Hill at £2.75 per share.

Following the approval of the acquisition by the High Court of England and Wales, the closure date of 22 April was set earlier this week, ending the three weeks of uncertainty regarding the transaction.

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