Caesars Entertainment has confirmed that it has reached an agreement with William Hill which will see the US operator complete a £2.9 billion acquisition of the UK bookmaker.
The acquisition, which awaits the approval of anti-trust and regulatory bodies, will support William Hill’s ongoing expansion into the US market by creating ‘one of the largest gaming-entertainment companies’ in the market.
“The William Hill Board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders,” said Roger Devlin, Chairman of William Hill, commenting on the acquisition.
“It recognises the significant progress the William Hill Group has made over the last 18 months, as well as the risk and significant investment required to maximise the US opportunity given intense competition in the US and the potential for regulatory disruption in the UK and Europe.
“Under the revitalised senior leadership team, William Hill has been delivering on its strategy and potential. William Hill is one of the world’s leading betting and gambling companies, with a long and proud heritage. It is one of the most recognised brands globally.
“Over recent years, it has transformed from a business once heavily reliant on UK retail into a company that is truly diversified by geography and channel, providing a stable standalone platform for future growth.
“For now, it is very much business as usual. Employees will be kept fully informed through this process. In terms of our UK and International businesses, we believe they have a strong future ahead and we will work with Caesars to find suitable partners to further the long-term growth prospects of these businesses.”
In its statement, Caesars said it plans to capitalise on the current joint venture structure between itself and William Hill – with plans to broaden its scope in order to ‘fully maximise the opportunity in the sports betting and gaming sector’.
In addition, the combined company will benefit from access to Caesars’ ‘extensive and pre-existing’ relationships with numerous sports teams and events.
The £2.9 billion bid comes after Caesars completed all US legislative requirements of its recent $17 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts, as it seeks to become North America’s biggest casino and hospitality business.
“The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the U.S. is a truly exciting prospect,” said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg.
“William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to serve our customers in the fast-growing U.S. sports betting and online market.
“We look forward to working with William Hill to support future growth in the U.S. by providing our customers with a superior and comprehensive experience across all areas of gaming, sports betting, and entertainment.”
The acquisition proposal will be put to William Hill Shareholders at the Court Meeting and at the General Meeting. Should the proposal be approved, Caesars expects the acquisition to be completed in the second half of 2021.