There have been in a huge number of changes in the world of gambling in the United States over recent years. Following New Jersey’s Supreme Court victory in May 2018, each state has the opportunity to legalize sports betting if they wish. Several states have chosen to legalize sports betting and many gambling companies are now vying for position to become the leading sports betting company in America.
One such company is Caesars Entertainment and they have been working hard to establish themselves as the leader of sports betting in the United States. One of the major steps they have recently taken is the move to purchase William Hill.
William Hill Is one of the leading names in online sports betting in the United Kingdom and they have been quick to act on the changes in legislation in the United States. William Hill have been competing with the BetRivers mobile app and other top names in online sports betting to establish a strong foothold in the market.
On the 28th of September, it was confirmed Caesars Entertainment was in advanced talks to buy William Hill and just two days later an agreement was made for the purchase at the value of £3 billion. This deal is going to take some time to complete due to the nature of the purchase and it is expected to be finalised during the second half of 2021. What exactly does the deal mean for both companies and the sports gambling community?
In terms of William Hill, the investors in the company will receive 272p per share in cash. Interestingly, on the day of the announcement, shares in the company moved ever so slightly during the morning and were up only 1.4 per cent to 278p by the end of trading.
Prior to this deal being agreed, William Hill received an offer from private equity firm Apollo Global Management. It is unclear as to the terms of this deal and if it would have been worth more money to William Hill but Caesars Entertainment were in a strong bargaining position, especially in terms of their partnership in the United States.
It is believed Caesars will maintain existing employee terms and conditions until the end of 2022 but has long term plans of targeting William Hill’s US operations. Caesars Entertainment already holds a 20% stake in William Hill’s operations in the United States so this should be a relatively straight forward process. However, Caesars have said it plans to seek alternative owners for the non-US segment of the business, which includes the United Kingdom.
Speaking after the announcement of the deal, William Hill chairman Roger Devlin said its board “believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders”.
Tom Reeg, chief executive of Caesars Entertainment, said: “The opportunity to combine our land-based casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect”. Reeg continued, “William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast-growing US sports betting and online market.”