William Hill’s stock soars amid takeover discussions

William Hill confirmed Friday that the company has received “separate cash proposals” from United States equity fun Apollo Global Management and its U.S. strategic partner Caesars Entertainment.

William Hill is valued at around $4 billion, but said there was no certainty of a deal. Under United Kingdom takeover rules, Apollo and Caesars have until Oct. 23 to announce their intention to make a firm offer or walk away.



“Discussions between William Hill and the respective parties are ongoing,” the company said in a statement Friday. “There can be no certainty that any offer for William Hill will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made.”

William Hill’s growing U.S. footprint

William Hill, sportsbook
REUTERS/Mike Segar

The British bookmaker and Caesars are already strategic partners in the U.S. and have been in discussions about merging some of their business operations within the country. Caesers currently owns about 20 percent of William Hill’s U.S. arm after taking over Eldorado Resorts in July.

Apollo also has a deep history in the gambling sector, including a buyout of Harrah’s Entertaining in 2008. Harrah’s was later renamed Caesars Entertainment. Apollo also acquired a stake in Italy’s Gamenet Group SpA last year.

The news spurred heavy investment activity, with William Hill PLC (WIMHF) stock was up more than 40 percent in early trading Friday, topping $4 per share after opening the day at $3.60. Rival betting companies Flutter Entertainment, Penn National Gaming and GVC Holdings were each up more than 5 percent as well, while DraftKings Inc was up more than 3 percent.

William Hill was founded in the 1930s and grew into one of the biggest sportsbooks after betting was legalized in the UK in 1961. The company announced in August that it would permanently close 119 shops due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but has continued to grow its footprint within the U.S.



–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)