Caesars Entertainment’s £2.9bn Takeover of William Hill Set for April 1 Completion

  • Caesars expects to have all relevant approvals from regulatory authorities around March 23
  • William Hill will delist from the London Stock Exchange when the deal is complete
  • The operator’s group adjusted operating profit fell 61% year-on-year in 2020 to £57.3m
  • William Hill shareholders voted in favor of the takeover in November
  • Caesars is reportedly not interested in William Hill’s non-US assets
Caesars Entertainment logo on a brick building facade
William Hill expects its takeover by Caesars Entertainment to be complete on April 1, 2021, with all required regulatory approvals set about a week earlier. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A new timeline

William Hill Plc has revealed that its £2.9bn ($4bn) takeover by US casino company Caesars Entertainment now has an April 1 completion date. The UK-based operator issued an update to the deal’s timeline on March 10.

The disclosure of Caesars’ bid to take over William Hill came on September 30, 2020. Caesars UK Holdings Limited, the Caesars Entertainment subsidiary in charge of completing the cash acquisition on behalf of the wider group, began seeking regulatory approval for the deal in the necessary jurisdictions during the final quarter of 2020.

Caesars now expects that all of the relevant approvals from authorities in the US and elsewhere will be in place around March 23. As such, a Scheme Court Hearing, the last hearing necessary to finalize the deal, is set for March 30.

Delisting from the London Stock Exchange

Assuming that the parties experience no regulatory roadblocks, William Hill believes the takeover completion will occur on April 1. In preparation for the merger, William Hill informed the London Stock Exchange that it is planning to cancel the listing of its shares by 8am on April 6.

2020 revenue decreasing to £1.32bn ($1.84bn) from £1.58bn ($2.2bn)

William Hill, which began in 1934, has had a listing on the London Stock Exchange since 2002. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on William Hill’s operations, with 2020 revenue decreasing to £1.32bn ($1.84bn) from £1.58bn ($2.2bn).

Group adjusted operating profit was £57.3m ($79.7m) for the year, a drop of 61% year-on-year. While the profits from its online operations grew, retail went from an adjusted operating profit of £83.2m ($115.7m) in 2019 to a loss of £29.5m ($41m) in 2020.

A focus on the US market

William Hill shareholders were in favor of this deal when voting on the matter last November. Around the same time of the vote, William Hill outlined its expectation of completing the takeover deal in the second quarter of 2021 and even by the end of March.

This takeover will see William Hill’s US operations integrate into Caesars’. The casino company estimates that the combined operations could generate net revenue upwards of $700m for the 2021 fiscal year. William Hill currently has sportsbooks in 14 states, as well as in Washington, D.C. Its US sports betting net revenue was £155.2m ($215.6m) in 2020, with 63% of the handle coming from online sources and the remainder from in-person betting.

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management lodged a rival bid to take over William Hill, but it was unsuccessful. It has since bought the Great Canadian Company for $1.96bn, Italian operator Gamenet for $1.2bn, and the Sin City operations of Las Vegas Sands for $2.25bn.

Before making its takeover bid, Caesars was already a 20% owner of the US operations of William Hill. It also had an exclusivity deal in place that saw William Hill sportsbooks as a part of any Caesars property with sports betting operations. Caesars reportedly has no interest in keeping the non-US assets of William Hill. A number of parties have expressed interest in potentially purchasing these assets, which include about 1,400 UK-based betting stores.