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No bid for William Hill, Apollo Global confirms

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Private equity fund Apollo Management International has announced that it will not make an offer for William Hill, leaving Caesars Entertainment to acquire the betting operator.

Apollo had initially submitted a rival bid to Caesars’ £2.9bn (€3.17bn/$3.72bn) offer, but William Hill’s board chose to unanimously and unconditionally recommend the Caesars offer.

The announcement that Apollo will no longer take part in the bidding process is binding for six months under the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers – a binding set of rules for UK-listed businesses – except for a series of exceptions which Apollo have laid out.

These exceptions include that it may bid for William Hill’s non-US business if Caesars sells this to focus on the US arm as expected.

Other scenarios where Apollo said it may still bid for the entire business include if Caesars’ bid for William Hill is withdrawn or lapses, if a third party announces its intention to bid, if William Hill announces a reverse merger or if there is “a material change in circumstances”.

Earlier this week, Apollo announced that it will invest €500m (£448.1m/$591.8m) in Sazka Group and KKCG, which is the investment body behind Sazka in a deal expected to close next year. The deal will see the creation of Sazka Entertainment AG, a new subsidiary of KKCG which will own 100% of Sazka.

The lottery operator said it would use these funds primarily to focus on acquisition and growth opportunities in Europe and North America, with a particular focus on lotteries.

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