On Friday, William Hill (OTCMKTS: WIMHY) saw massive movement on the stock market as rumors began to swirl about a potential buyout. Caesars Entertainment (NSDQ: CZR) and Apollo Global Management INC. (NYSE: APO) each submitted takeover bids to purchase the British gambling company. Now the potential for a bidding war has ensued with shareholders taking notice as William Hill skyrockets 43%.
William Hill does have a second sector in the British market that is far more experienced. The British gambling market has been operating since the 1960s. On the London market, William Hill (LON: WMH) soared there too. WMH started the day at $222 per share. By end of day, it was $312.20 after a wild 44% swing.
William Hill was the first to announce that the talks had begun. The Board of William Hill stated, “The board notes the recent press speculation regarding a possible offer for William Hill.” The statement continued, “Following an initial written proposal from Apollo on 27 August 2020, William Hill received a further proposal from Apollo and proposals from Caesars.”
When asked for comment, both Caesars and Apollo Management declined.
A Not So Familiar Name Could Make A Huge Splash
When ESPN announced a deal with DraftKings and Caesar’s Entertainment, it was expected that William Hill would operate as Caesars’ partner. That no longer appears to be a slam dunk, however. William Hill has now discussed two takeover bids from two different companies. It will be fascinating to see how the ESPN deal plays out if they were to sell to Apollo Global Management.
Apollo Global Management is an English and Wales based company that is jockeying to purchase William Hill. Apollo does have experience with several different gambling companies mostly in the European market.
In 2019, Apollo purchased 49% of Gamenet, an Italian sports betting company. Earlier that year, Apollo also purchased 32 casino locations in France. While they may not be a household name in the United States, that could quickly change as their European experience could help them thrive in the United States.
Apollo Global Management is also a finalist to purchase European supermarket chain Asda.
Caesars and Apollo Have Until October 24th
Caesars Entertainment saw strong gains upon the reports of a potential buyout. Ending the day at 7.94% gains and a $57.07 per share price. After a cliff drop in March of 2020, Caesars is now near its 52-week high when it hit $68.82 in February.
William Hill has been expected to field offers since it announced in August the closure of 119 betting shops. The result is William Hill will merge its online and retail operations. As one of the largest gambling companies in the world, William Hill has begun to pivot. They have made a concerted effort to become more mobile as online gambling has become far more popular.
Caesars and William Hill have been partners since June when Caesars Entertainment combined assets with Eldorado Resorts. The partnership with ESPN resulted in 8% gains for Caesars Entertainment. As Caesar’s sports betting partner, ESPN is featuring William Hill’s odds on behalf of Caesars Entertainment.
With conversations having started the clock now begins to tick. Under United Kingdom takeover rules, Apollo and Caesars must make an official bid by October 23rd or walkaway. While the excitement was strong on Friday, that does not mean that any William Hill buyout is guaranteed.
William Hill explains, “There can be no certainty that any offer for William Hill will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made”
The next month will be very important for all of these companies as the gambling market continues to be as unpredictable as ever.
Caesars Make $3.7 Billion Offer on Monday, William Hill Stock Falls 12%
Caesars Entertainment made an offer to William Hill for 2.9 billion pounds ($3.7 billion) resulting in a falling stock price. When the stock skyrocketed 40% shareholders hoped for a potential bidding war and higher buyout price. Since that time, William Hill has entered into advanced talks with Caesars Entertainment on a deal that completes a sale of William Hill by the second half of 2021.
The most expected outcome by the October 24th deadline was always going to be Caesars Entertainment completing the purchase of William Hill. Their outstanding partnership shows they have already been involved together for some time. They should be able to continue a successful relationship, especially with the recent ESPN deal.
When asked about the opportunity to purchase William Hill on Monday, Caesars Chief Executive, Tom Reeg said,
“William Hill’s sports betting expertise will compliment Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast-growing US sports betting and online market.”
Sure sounds like Caesars’ is prepared to make a deal go through sooner rather than later.