The takeover of William Hill by Caesars Entertainment has moved one step closer after a legal challenge was thrown out of court.
Some shareholders in the firm – including the powerful equity firm HBK Capital Management – had questioned whether the acquisition was legally sound after they claimed William Hill hadn’t disclosed full details of the existing joint venture with Caesars, then known as Eldorado Resorts, who own 20% of Hills’ Stateside operation.
The shareholders argued that the firm could have secured a higher price if they had opened up the floor to other bidders – the private equity firm, Apollo Global Management, had an offer rejected as the race to acquire William Hill heated up.
They hoped that the courts would block the takeover on those grounds, thus forcing Caesars to come in with an improved offer that would secure investors a better return.
However, after a three week delay, the case was thrown out by the presiding judge and now the £2.9 billion takeover is one step closer to being completed.
The 272p-per-share deal had been agreed last September, however a number of legal challenges have prevented it from being completed in quicker fashion.
Caesars have been desperate to get the merger over the line – not least with forecasts suggesting it could be worth some $600 million to the Las Vegas based casino chain annually.
“The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect,” said Tom Reeg, who is the chief executive of Caesars.
“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.”
What Does This Mean for William Hill Customers?
Caesars’ takeover bid first became public knowledge in September 2020, and the William Hill board intimated to shareholders that it was ‘minded’ to accept the offer.
They almost overwhelmingly agreed, with 86% of shareholders voting in favour of the deal – far more than the 75% needed to get it over the line.
Under the terms of the deal, Caesars would purchase a number of William Hill’s assets, however the non-US betting arm of the bookmakers’ business is likely to be sold to the highest bidder – Apollo Global Management are rumoured to be among the interested parties, as are 888 and Fred Done, the brains behind Betfred.
With no obstacles now in place, the takeover can commence and it is expected to be formalised by the summer. A suspension of the brand’s position on the London Stock Exchange has already been applied for.
At the time of writing, it has not been revealed what that means for players of William Hill’s casino, however it is likely that you will be able to access the site until the non-US side of the business has been sold off.
Gamers in the US will be able to enjoy a revamped casino platform, with William Hill powering a new online offering from the land-based operator.