Entain has an eye on Caesars Entertainment’s planned sale of William Hill’s European assets, including its retail bookies in the UK.
UK.- Entain Plc’s CEO has revealed that the group is interested in Caesar Entertainment’s planned sale of William Hill’s UK and European assets.
The US casino giant Caesars Entertainment completed its acquisition of William Hill last month. Its interest was always in William Hill’s US sportsbook business due to the rapid growth of sports betting in the US.
Caesars made clear from the outset that it would look to sell off William Hill’s European business if the deal went ahead.
It has widely been speculated that Apollo Global Management, Fred Done or 888 Holdings were the most likely buyers to take on William Hill’s European assets, which include British and European online operations and 1,400 retail betting shops in the UK and Ireland. Apollo previously made a bid for all of William Hill’s business but lost out to Caesars.
But Entain, which already owns 40 per cent of betting shops in the UK through Ladbrokes and Coral, has now revealed that it also has an eye on the sale.
Group CEO, Jette-Nygaard Andersen, told Bloomberg: “We’re looking at everything, so we’re certainly also looking at whether this could be an interesting opportunity.”
However, a bid from Entain would face intense regulatory scrutiny since it would give the FTSE100 gambling company more than 51 per cent of high street betting shops in the UK, passing the level of concentration that would cause intervention by the Competition Markets Authority (CMA).
Analysts have suggested that the result of the UK government’s current review of gambling legislation may well have an impact on the value of the sale.
Caesars’ takeover of William Hill
Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment completed its £2.9bn takeover of UK-based William Hill on April 23 following the firm’s delisting from the London Stock Exchange. The price represented £2.72 per share.
Through the Caesars-William Hill merger, the companies are currently operating sports betting in 18 jurisdictions in the US, including mobile sports betting in 13, the highest presence in the industry.
Caesars expects to be operational in 20 US jurisdictions by the end of 2021.
The company will provide a single-wallet offering of sports betting and online gaming products across the firm in the future.
In 2020, Wiliam Hill saw revenue and profit drop in what was a challenging year.