Caesars closes £2.9bn takeover of William Hill

The previously announced deal between Caesars Entertainment and William Hill has closed.

The US-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment has announced the closure of its £2.9bn ($4.04bn) acquisition of the UK bookmaker William Hill.

This comes after the High Court of Justice in England and Wales sanctioned the acquisition earlier this week, paving the way for the deal to close on 22 April.

Completion of the transaction comes after a legal challenge from the investment management fund HBK Investments. HBK argued that shareholders were not correctly informed on the details of the transaction and raised concerns over William Hill’s 2019 joint venture with Eldorado Resorts, which later acquired William Hill.

The Court was originally meant to deliver a verdict on the deal on 31 March, however, HBK’s legal challenge delayed the deal for three weeks.

The transaction closes

Now that the deal has closed, the entire issued and to be issued share capital of William Hill are now owned by Caesars UK Bidco, the arm of Caesars Entertainment that led the acquisition offer.

Under the deal, which was first announced in September 2020, Caesars agreed to purchase William Hill’s 1.08bn shares for £2.72 a share.

Existing William Hill shareholders will receive their share pay-outs no later than 6 May. Applications have also been filed with the Financial Conduct Authority and the London Stock Exchange to de-list William Hill shares.

Speaking on the completion of the transaction, Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said: “We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of William Hill, combining two of the premier operations in the sports betting and iGaming industries under one roof. We look forward to announcing future sports partnerships that will drive long-term growth.”

With the completion of the deal, directors Roger Devlin, Mark Brooker, Jane Hanson, Robin Terrell, Lynne Weedall and Gordon Wilson have tendered their resignations and stepped down from their roles on the William Hill board of directors.

Caesars’ plans for William Hill

When the deal was announced, Caesars said that the main target of the acquisition was William Hill’s US sports betting operation and technology. The US casino giant palms to sell the remaining William Hill assets, which includes the UK operation.

Now that the deal has been completed, Caesars plans to have its new sportsbook brand in 20 US states by the end of the year. At the moment, the brand is currently live in 18 states with legal betting.

The operator also plans to unify the wallet and experience between William Hill sportsbook products and the Caesars online casino. 

There are also plans to cross-sell William Hill to its Caesars Rewards database which contains roughly 60m users.

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