When Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill for £2.9 billion back in April, the American casino giant made it quite clear: they did not want anything to do with the firm’s European operation.
And so they decided to put it up for sale to the highest bidder. The winner would receive William Hill’s highly-respected sports betting arm, as well as their online operations that include their well-stocked casino, bingo and poker channels.
Unsurprisingly, there were no shortage of interested parties, with the likes of 888 Holdings, Betfred and investment firm Apollo Global Management all thought to be in the mix for the £1.5 million valued enterprise.
Well, the competition has just become even more fierce with Tipico Group, a German operator backed by a considerable private equity fund, now also throwing their hat into the ring.
It has been reported that Tipico have tabled a ‘credible’ offer to acquire the firm’s high street and online assets, although the exact figure has not been revealed.
Deutsch Bank, who are hosting the bidding war on behalf of Caesars, have received the offer and will now presumably kick on with promoting counter bids from the other interested parties.
It is believed that group no longer contains Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, who have pulled out of the running, while Advent International – another private equity firm – have also revealed their intention to withdraw.
Tipico Group, backed by finance heavyweights CVC Capital Partners, might just have the clout to win the race.
Who are the Tipico Group?
Tipico operates thousands of betting shops across Europe, and so you can see why they would want to take on William Hill’s real estate in the UK too.
The firm is the largest sports betting entity in Germany, and they have expanded their repertoire online as well. Their website and app features a wide range of slots, table and card games to go with the sports markets.
So they would be able to operate William Hill as a ‘turnkey’ firm, simply taking over the branding and using their own existing back office software and resources to run the company pretty much off the shelf.
If the Tipico Group was to be successful, you suspect the disruption to William Hill customers would be kept to a minimum.
Who are CVC Capital Partners?
CVC Capital Partners is a private equity firm with their metaphorical fingers in many pies.
They have more than 100 active investments worldwide totalling a handsome $111 billion, including the Asia Commercial Bank, Breitling, Hermes, the RAC and an eclectic array of other brands.
CVC is the principal backer of Premiership Rugby and the Pro14, and their sports-based connections have come full circle. They, alongside the global equity firm Cinven, acquired William Hill for a cool £825 million back in 1999.
They floated the betting firm on the London Stock Exchange in 2002, and were a key figure as the industry made its way into a brave new world of online betting and casino gaming.