Boston-based private equity fund Advent International has been cited as a new suitor vying to purchase William Hill’s UK and European assets.
As reported by The Times, Advent joins a raft of companies who have stated their interest in acquiring William Hill UK and European offcuts, made expendable by new owner Caesars Entertainment in its pursuit to become the US online gambling’s outright market leader.
Alongside Apollo Global, Advent is listed as a PE fund that will bid against industry incumbents to acquire the heritage UK betting group – as Caesars anticipates a minimum buyout of £1.2 billion.
According to The Times, City sources are tipping Apollo as the favourite to win William Hill’s auction, noting the +$90 billion fund’s aggressive expansion within gambling markets – taking ownership of Gamenet Italia and Las Vegas’ Venetian Resorts.
Yet, there remains no certainty of Apollo winning the bid, in which PE funds will have to persuade William Hill’s executive team led by Ulrik Bengtsson to remain with the business once Caesars agrees to sell its assets.
Little was disclosed with regards to Advent’s potential bid, as the US fund maintains no previous record of investment within gambling.
Week-on-week, further companies are disclosed to be vying to compete in William Hill’s auction – in which all major listed gambling firms have been touted as potential suitors.
Caesars remains adamant that it will dispose of William Hill’s UK and European assets this year – but has yet to present concrete plan on how it will choose to divest the betting group’s 1,400 UK betting estates, its William Hill Online unit and Mr Green European igaming subsidiary.
William Hill’s auction takes place against the backdrop of the UK government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act – a dynamic that will impact the valuation of William Hill assets, dependent on the final outcome of proceedings.