US casinos giant Caesars bets on William Hill with £2.9bn acquisition
A UK bookmaker has announced that it has reached an agreement to be acquired by a US competitor.
William Hill, based in London, is set to be acquired by Caesars and Caesars UK for 272 pence per share - £2.9bn overall.
The company currently has 11,500 employees worldwide, and Caesars has said that the acquisition will have “minimal, if any” impact on employee headcount, except that all non-executive directors will be expected to resign on completion of the acquisition.
After the deal completes, Caesars will be seeking new partners and owners to manage the UK business.
The deal, which is dependent on approval from William Hill’s shareholders, will be fully funded through a combination of Caesars’ existing cash resources and the net proceeds of its recent $1.7bn equity raise.
Caesars said that the acquisition will complement its current portfolio, bringing expertise in sports betting.
Roger Devlin, chairman of William Hill, commented: “The William Hill board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders.
“It recognises the significant progress the William Hill Group has made over the last 18 months, as well as the risk and significant investment required to maximise the US opportunity given intense competition in the US and the potential for regulatory disruption in the UK and Europe.
“Under the revitalised senior leadership team, William Hill has been delivering on its strategy and potential.
“William Hill is one of the world’s leading betting and gambling companies, with a long and proud heritage. It is one of the most recognised brands globally.
“Over recent years, it has transformed from a business once heavily reliant on UK retail into a company that is truly diversified by geography and channel, providing a stable standalone platform for future growth.
“For now, it is very much business as usual. Employees will be kept fully informed through this process.
“In terms of our UK and international businesses, we believe they have a strong future ahead and we will work with Caesars to find suitable partners to further the long term growth prospects of these businesses.”
Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars, said: “The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect.
“William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast growing US sports betting and online market.
“We look forward to working with William Hill to support future growth in the US by providing our customers with a superior and comprehensive experience across all areas of gaming, sports betting, and entertainment.”
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