Now that Caesars Entertainment was able to close on its purchase of William Hill and all of the sports gambling operator’s assets, it’s time to get to work. Caesars made it clear from the start that it would sell William Hill’s non-US assets following the acquisition that cost it $3.7 billion and it’s ready to get started. There will undoubtedly be a lot of interest in those assets and it has already been rumored that companies like Apollo Global Management and the parent company of 888 Holdings are ready to battle. If Caesars expected to earn $2 billion from the sale of William Hill’s operations outside the US, it could find itself banking even more.
William Hill Bidding War to Begin
William Hill is synonymous with sports gambling. It has long been part of the gambling scene across Europe and is one of the oldest in the UK, where it has approximately 1,400 betting shops. According to The Daily Telegraph, the assets are ready to be sold and interest is starting to mount. Caesars just closed on its acquisition of all of William Hill’s portfolio a little more than a week ago and is ready to figure out how much it can get for the non-US assets.
Apollo is no stranger to the gambling industry and has already been involved in several high-profile deals. It has expressed interest in bidding for the assets, as has Israel-based Shaked Ventures, owner of 888 Holdings. At stake are all of the betting shops in the UK, as well as other online operations under the William Hill brand throughout Europe. This equals, over the course of ownership, billions of dollars in potential revenue, and a bidding war for the purchase of those assets can be expected.
Deeper Pockets to Prevail
Both Apollo and Shaked Ventures have significant financial liquidity at their disposal and there will undoubtedly be a fight for the future control of William Hill’s European market. However, the entity with more flexibility and financial backing is likely to prevail. Apollo currently has its hands in a number of gaming-related pots around the world and could run into trouble if it tries to spread itself too thin. For now, however, it reportedly is in the lead.
There’s also the possibility of other entities stepping in and additional deals worked out. It wouldn’t be surprising to see two or more companies team up to pool their resources and create a larger, more resourceful player in the bidding war, effectively threatening Apollo’s position. This would undoubtedly lead to even greater bidding wars, deals, and negotiations, which Caesars will happily welcome. The more entities that get involved in the fight for control of William Hill, the more the value will increase, giving the gaming operator more funds to offset the initial purchase.