UK-based sports book and iGaming operator William Hill is subjecting to shareholder vote Caesars Entertainment’s £2.9 billion takeover bid on November 17, just two days prior to a court hearing on the deal. For the cash deal to go ahead, 75% of William Hill shareholders should vote in favor of the offer from the casino giant.
Bidco to Acquire William Hill
The acquisition of William Hill is planned to happen under Part 26 of the UK Companies Act: Caesars’ Bidco will acquire the business of the sports book provider, but also a court-sanctioned arrangement is required. The board of directors of William Hill already accepted the bid from Caesars and recommended to shareholders to approve the takeover proposal.
William Hill chair Roger Devlin sent a letter to shareholders stating that the proposed 272p per share price from Caesars is probably the best they could get and would not be matched by any other rival bid in the future. The cash proposal represents a 57% premium on the closing price of William Hill on the last business day before the offer was made, September 1.
Significant Progress but Further Investment Needed
Roger Devlin further noted that the bid reflected the huge steps the company had made for the past 18 months, outlining that significant further investments would be needed to maintain the pace in the highly competitive US market, if opportunities were to be maximized.
When assessing the deal, the board took into consideration the interests of all stakeholders, Devlin continued, pointing out to the employee retention arrangements offered by Caesars. The casino operator is planning to ensure key staff of William Hill is treated fairly, and committed to maintaining compensation, benefits and redundancy agreements throughout 2022.
Arrangements for Business Continuation
Caesars also ensured the board once William Hill’s international business is being divested, it would look to keep these arrangements for the acquirer, which would also be expected to commit to a long-term strategy aligned with the international part of the sports book operator’s business.
Besides promising to keep all current offices and headquarters until the divestment of the international part of the business is achieved, Caesars would look to expand William Hill’s operations in the US by offering more unified customer service through consolidated apps and wallets, underpinned by William Hill’s Liberty Technology platform, Rob Devlin noted.
The acquisition would also allow for a more integrated arrangement with a media business, on top of leveraging existing partnerships with sports teams, leagues and events, including the exclusive partnership with the National Football League (NFL), an opportunity that could ultimately generate between $600 million and $700 million during the first year of operation, William Hill chair concluded.
Rob Devlin also stated clearly that the board already committed to selling their 2.1 million shares representing 0.2% of the total issued capital, and recommended shareholders to back the deal which is in the best interests of all parties involved.