Caesars Entertainment Can Proceed with William Hill Takeover

Caesar's Entertainment

A British court has approved Caesar Entertainment‘s $4.04 billion takeover of the renowned bookmaker William Hill. However, many investors have protested the move.

Earlier this week, William Hill announced the court had confirmed the transaction, which would be completed on Thursday. According to the information provided by the UK company, all trading of its shares on the London Stock Exchange will cease today.

Finalizing the Deal

Roger Devlin, Chairman at William Hill, said that following the court’s confirmation, the deal would be finalized on April 22. He pointed out the transaction would give the company’s shareholders a fair and balanced cash price. Devlin stated the said price would offset the exciting opportunities and risks that come with the business.

After a customary hearing was completed, the takeover was expected to be completed by the end of March. However, after hedge funds and investors holding stakes in the British bookmaker objected to the bid, the court’s decision was put on hold.

A total of six hedge funds and one investor protested, submitting several letters to the bookmaker’s board. They argued that William Hill hadn’t revealed information about the current ties with the US gaming giant, which could have allowed interested parties to submit higher offers.

Following the 2018 US Supreme Court decision to repeal the Wire Act, William Hill teamed up with former Eldorado Resorts to launch a joint sports betting operation. Eldorado Resorts and Caesars completed the merger in July last year, with the new business entity inheriting the existing partnership.

Restricted Acquirers

Caesars submitted its offer in September last year. Another potential buyer was a private equity group Apollo Global Management, but William Hill chose over the bid tabled by the American side. Under the provisions of Caesar’s offer, the gaming operator could decide to terminate the US sports betting venture with William Hill if the Brits accepted a rival proposal.

Caesars specified that the sports betting partnership could be ended should a restricted acquirer take over William Hill. The list of such buyers would be determined by Caesars itself.

According to the letters of protests sent by investors, William Hill didn’t reveal the list of restricted acquirers could only comprise of six names. Caesars was also allowed to change it only once every six months by substituting just one name on it.

Experts believed the court could reject the transaction, especially after the long time it took to issue a ruling. But, as Judge Alastair Norris explained, the paperwork included enough information for the British bookmaker’s shareholders to reach a decision. In other words, William Hill didn’t influence the bidding process.

After the takeover is completed, Caesars intends to sell William Hill’s business outside the US. That includes William Hill UK, with a number of parties expressing their interest in the renowned bookmaker. The same goes for other international operations. According to available information, Apollo Global Management is currently leading the race. 888 is also said to be interested, while Betfred is looking to acquire the bookmaker’s retail chain in the UK.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top