Sunday 4 October 2020 12:44 pm

Betfred owner denies rival bid for William Hill

Betfred co-founder Fred Done has pushed back against reports that he will make a rival bid for William Hill, which has already given the green light to a £2.9bn deal with Las Vegas casino owner Caesars Entertainment. 

Done, who is William Hill’s second-biggest investor, was weighing up “all options” this weekend, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Read more: William Hill and Caesars Entertainment seal £2.9bn takeover deal

Done held informal discussions over a potential offer for the rival firm’s 1,400 betting shops at the end of last year. 

He was reportedly considering a bid for the entire business due to challenging high street trading conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the newspaper added, citing sources.

However a spokesperson for the billionaire bookmaker has since confirmed that neither Done or Betfred will make an offer for the firm.  

William Hill on Wednesday confirmed it had given the green light to be acquired by Caesars for £2.9bn.

Chairman Roger Devlin said the US firm’s offer is the “best option” for the high street gambling firm “at an attractive price for shareholders”. 

“It recognises the significant progress the group has made over the last 18 months, as well as the risk and significant investment required to maximise the US opportunity given intense competition in the US,” Devlin said. 

Read more: Casino giant Caesars in ‘advanced discussions’ over £2.9bn William Hill takeover

The company said it would continue to operate “business as usual” while the deal undergoes regulatory scrutiny, and said its UK operations still has “a strong future ahead”.

Caesars said on Wednesday that “the historic acquisition would bring together Caesars as one of the largest gaming-entertainment companies in the US… and William Hill as one of the world’s leading betting and gambling companies.”

The proposed takeover by Caesars, which owns Las Vegas’ iconic hotel and casino Caesars Palace, would mark a significant expansion across the Atlantic for William Hill, after a challenging trading period during the pandemic.

City A.M. has contacted Betfred for comment.

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