Monday 28 September 2020 8:04 am

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

US casino giant Caesars Entertainment has confirmed it is in “advanced discussions” over a £2.9bn takeover deal of UK betting firm William Hill.

Caesars has put forward a cash offer of 272p per share for the British bookmaker, which is 25 per cent higher than the company’s trading price last Thursday and a 57.6 per cent premium to its closing price at the start of the month. 

William Hill’s board of directors has now told Caesars that its offer “is at a price level that they would be minded to recommend” to shareholders.

The 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 period during the pandemic.

In August, the company announced it would close 119 of its 1,500 UK stores as the pandemic hammered advertising revenue.

Tom Reeg, chief executive of Caesars, said: “The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect.

“William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast growing US sports betting and online market.”

Shares in the British gambling firm surged more than 40 per cent last Friday after William Hill announced it had received “separate cash proposals” from both Caesars and private equity firm Apollo Management, which is currently the frontrunner in the race to buy Asda.

 In a statement to the stock exchange on Friday, William Hill said: “Following an initial written proposal from Apollo on 27 August 2020, William Hill received a further proposal from Apollo and proposals from Caesars.

“Discussions between William Hill and the respective parties are ongoing. 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.”