Betfred denies plan for rival William Hill bid

Betfred has previously looked into buying William Hill's UK retail estate.
Betfred has previously looked into buying William Hill's UK retail estate.

Reports yesterday suggested Betfred may try to gatecrash Caesars’ acquisition of the British bookmaker.

UK.- Fred Done, the co-founder of British bookmaker Betfred, has denied the company is planning to launch a late rival offer in a bid to scupper Caesars Entertainment’s acquisition of William Hill.

The US casino operator’s £2.9bn offer for William Hill has already gained the recommendation of the British bookmakers’ directors but needs the approval of 75 per cent of its shareholders.

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday (October 4) that Done, who is William Hill’s second-biggest investor with 6 per cent of its shares, was weighing up “all options”.

Betfred was already believed to be one of the most likely candidates to buy William Hill’s 1,400 UK retail outlets, which Caesars has said it would offload after acquiring the bookmaker.

Done already held informal discussions about buying the outlets last year.

But according to the Sunday Telegraph, the bookmaker had begun considering mounting a bid for the entire William Hill business due to the difficult conditions for high street retail betting following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A spokesperson for Done has denied the suggestion that the billionaire will make an offer for the entire business.

He may still make a move for the UK retail outlets. The retail estate saw William Hill take an impairment charge of £800m on its accounts last year after revenue plummeted following the enforcement of the £2 stake limit for FOBTs in April 2019.

888 Holdings CEO, Itai Pazner, meanwhile, has confirmed 888 may be interested in purchasing William Hill’s European business.

The number of high street bookies in the UK now stands at 3,338, down from 3,801 at the end of last year, according to figures from the Local Data Company.

The overall number of retail bookmakers in all locations has fallen by 758 to 6,634.

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