Caesars completes £2.9bn acquisition of William Hill

| By Robert Fletcher
Caesars Entertainment has finalised its acquisition of British gambling operator William Hill.
William Hill announces responsible gaming initiatives

Under the acquisition deal announced in September last year, Caesars agreed to pay £2.9bn (€3.35bn/$4.04bn) to take ownership of the business, purchasing William Hill’s 1.08bn shares for £2.72 apiece.

At the time, Caesars stated that the target of the acquisition was William Hill’s US betting business and technology, with the remainder of the operator’s assets, including its UK arm, now set to be sold.

After the High Court of Justice in England and Wales this week sanctioned the acquisition, Caesars and William Hill were able to proceed with the transaction and completed the deal today (22 April).

The entire issued and to be issued share capital of William Hill, other than shares that were already owned by Caesars, are now owned by Caesars UK Bidco, the operating segment of Caesars that led the acquisition offer. 

Existing William Hill shareholders will receive their share pay-outs no later than 6 May, while applications have been made to the Financial Conduct Authority and the London Stock Exchange to de-list William Hill shares. This is expected to take effect from 8am tomorrow.

In relation to the completed deal, William Hill directors Roger Devlin, Mark Brooker, Jane Hanson, Robin Terrell, Lynne Weedall and Gordon Wilson have tendered their resignations and stepped down from the William Hill Board.

“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,” Caesars’ chief executive Tom Reeg said.

“We look forward to announcing future sports partnerships that will drive long-term growth.”

Completion of the acquisition comes after Caesars saw off a rival bid from Apollo Global, as well as a legal challenge from investment management fund HBK Investments, which had delayed the deal going from through on 1 April as initially planned.

HBK argued that shareholders were not correctly informed of the details of the deal, with particular concerns over William Hill’s 2019 joint venture agreement with Eldorado Resorts, which later acquired and rebranded as Caesars.

HBK stated Caesars’ ability to restrict counterbidders under the terms of this agreement was more limited than the scheme documents suggested.

The scheme court hearing to approve the deal was initially scheduled for 31 March, but HBK’s objection saw the deal delayed for three weeks.

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