Potential Buyers Looking at William Hill’s European Business

  • Apollo Global Management is reportedly considering a bid for William Hill’s non-US assets
  • Betfred, 888 Holdings, CVC Capital Partners, and Apax Partners are other possible bidders
  • William Hill accepted an acquisition offer worth £2.9bn from Caesars Entertainment in September
  • Caesars wants to leverage William Hill’s sports betting expertise in the US market
William Hill betting shop sign
Apollo Global Management is the latest party reportedly in the race for William Hill’s European assets once the UK betting company’s acquistion by Caesars Entertainment is complete. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Up for grabs

New York investment fund Apollo Global Management is reportedly considering a bid for William Hill’s European assets. The London-based gambling operator is currently in the process of merging with its strategic partner in the US, Caesars Entertainment.

Caesars, however, does not want William Hill’s 1,400 retail sportsbooks in Europe

Apollo was originally looking to completely acquire William Hill a few months back, but Caesars ended up winning out with a bid worth about £2.9bn ($3.8bn). Caesars, however, does not want William Hill’s 1,400 retail sportsbooks in Europe and is looking to sell them.

The Sunday Telegraph recently reported that private equity company CVC Capital Partners (previous owner of Sky Betting & Gaming) and Apax Partners also may submit rival bids for William Hill’s European assets, valuing them at approximately £1.5bn ($2bn). 888 Holdings and Betfred are other names on the list of potential bidders for the European operations. 

Betfred founder Fred Done already has a 6% stake in William Hill, buying at a time when the pandemic had decimated the operator’s share price. 888 Holdings highlighted in an interim statement that it is currently monitoring developments with the company. It is specifically focusing on the digital assets of William Hill Online and its Scandinavian Mr Green online casino brand.

Progress of the Caesars merger

In September, Caesars announced that its bid for William Hill was successful. The potential merger has yet to close; William Hill shareholders vote on the bid on November 19. Talking about the possible deal, William Hill chairman Roger Devlin said it would secure “the best foundations from which to accelerate William Hill’s US multi-state wagering ambitions.” 

The initial hope is for the deal to be finalized in the second half of 2021. It needs to receive approval from shareholders, as well as the competition and regulatory authorities in the relevant jurisdictions. Once the deal is final, the sale of non-US assets will become a focus.

Prior to the William Hill deal, Caesars merged with Eldorado Resorts, forming the largest casino and hospitality company in the United States. 

A burgeoning market

Caesars sees its acquisition of William Hill as an ideal way to develop a significant presence in the ever-expanding legal sports betting market in the US. The two operators already had a deal which gave William Hill exclusive access to all Caesars properties. 

“potential total addressable market size” could reach $35bn

Caesars believes that the “potential total addressable market size” could reach $35bn. The casino company also estimates that the joint US venture could generate $600-$700m worth of net revenue in 2021. 

Currently, William Hill has sportsbooks at more than 160 locations across 14 states. This includes online sportsbooks in Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Colorado.

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