Entain may be the top candidate among UK-based sports betting operators scrambling for the non-US assets of William Hill, a report in Bloomberg speculated today.
Lucrative Business for Sale
The non-US assets of William Hill are put up for sale after the acquisition of the UK-based group by US casino giant Caesars in a $3.7 billion deal, and appointed as Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen in January is considering to look at the possibility of acquiring the assets, including William Hill’s properties in the UK.
In a recent interview, Entain CEO said the group may be interested in the opportunity to acquire the retail betting shops. Currently, the group has a 40% retail market share in the UK and such a deal would help it consolidate its position further.
A public filing revealed that non-US assets of William Hill Caesars are being put up for bidding in two weeks, contributed more than 80% of the operator’s sales in 2020, and Caesars is preferring to sell the assets together. Previously, the casino giant stated it intended to pay $2 billion of debt, setting the starting price for the bidding.
According to Bloomberg data, the total volume of casino deals in 2021, both pending and completed, is up 33% to $22 billion, with some of the most notable deals being the merger between Bally’s Corporation and Gamesys Group, as well as the sale of the Venetian in Las Vegas to Apollo Global Management.
The private equity fund is also a candidate for the non-US assets of William Hill, having lost the battle for the whole company to Caesars mainly due to the casino operator already having joint sports betting business with William Hill. According to some unnamed sources, Apollo, which is also set to challenge Entain for the Tabcorp assets, could be the leading candidate.
Other private equity firms Bloomberg sees as potentially interested in a deal are CVC Capital Partners and Blackstone Group, but the former declined to comment, while the latter told Bloomberg it decided against pursuing the properties.
Entain’s domestic rivals, Flutter Entertainment, and Betfred are also in the mix, as the owner of Paddy Power betting shops and the daily fantasy and sports betting brand FanDuel in the US holds a similar approach to Entain’s. Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said the company would be always interested in a retail expansion, and if an opportunity in European markets arises, it would consider it.
A representative of Betfred, a rival bookmaker company that owned 6% of William Hill prior to the acquisition by Caesars, told Bloomberg the company is still to formulate its position regarding potential bidding for the assets.