Caesars Receives Antitrust Green Light for $3.7B Buyout of William Hill
- The historic deal clears the path for a new sportsbook giant to enter the competitive US landscape
- The combination draws upon years of international William Hill sportsbook experience
- Caesars will also seek new partnerships as part of the new agreement to enhance goals
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Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) announced the early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 relating to the proposed acquisition of William Hill Plc. (WMH.L). The proposed acquisition also received approvals from the Mississippi Gaming Commission on November 19 and the West Virginia Lottery on December 16.
The company announced the acquisition also brings together Caesars as one of the largest gaming-entertainment companies in the US and one of the world’s most diversified gaming entertainment provisions, joining William Hill as one of the world’s leading betting and gambling companies.
The acquisition deal is subject to anti-trust and regulatory approvals and completion is expected to take place in the second half of 2021. The transaction remains subject to the satisfaction of the remaining conditions, including approval by the Indiana Gaming Commission, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Nevada Gaming Commission, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and Casino Control Commission, and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Also pertaining to the agreement, the combination requires the English High Court’s final approval and administrative and post-closing approvals from other US agencies.
Under the deal, William Hill shareholders shall be entitled to receive 272 pence in cash for each William Hill share. The deal values the entire issued and to be issued share capital of William Hill at approximately 2.9 billion pounds ($3.7 billion US dollars).
Both Sides Looking Ahead With Great Confidence
In a statement, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg proudly 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 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.
Equally excited, Roger Devlin, Chairman of William Hill stated:
The William Hill Board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders. It recognizes the significant progress the William Hill Group has made over the last 18 months, as well as the risk and significant investment required to maximize the US opportunity given the intense competition in the US and the potential for regulatory disruption in the UK and Europe.
Under the revitalized 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 recognized 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.
Goals of the New Acquisition
Attaching with iGaming which is currently outside the scope of the joint venture, Caesars expects that the expanded sports and online gaming business in the US could potentially generate between US$600-$700 million in net revenue in FY2021 (on a Pro-forma basis).
The focus for Caesars will remain on opportunities present within the US market. The company believes in the proposition that William Hill’s presence in the UK and other non-US international markets can offer to their gaming customers in those markets and believes those businesses have a strong future. Supporting those propositions and ambitions, Caesars intends to seek suitable partners who have similar objectives and a common business approach. All for the benefit of its customers.
Caesars said it continues to progress through obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals required to close the transaction and is still aiming to complete the proposed combination in March 2021.
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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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