Tuesday 20 April 2021 11:21 am

UK court clears William Hill’s £2.9bn Caesars takeover

William Hill today said its £2.9bn takeover by US casino group Caesars Entertainment had been cleared by a UK court despite shareholder protests.

The bumper merger had been held up by a court hearing after minority shareholder HBK Capital Management raised concerns about disclosures relating to the deal.

HBK and fellow US hedge fund GWM Asset Management both wrote to the board arguing that the terms of the joint venture were not properly disclosed by William Hill last year.

The court process was delayed for almost three weeks, but in a statement today the bookmaker said the deal had been sanctioned by the court.

The deal, which was agreed in September, highlights efforts to cash in on the burgeoning US betting market amid a relaxation of regulations.

“The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect,” said Tom Reeg, chief executive of Caesars, which owns Las Vegas’ iconic hotel and casino Caesars Palace.

“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.”

Caesars has said it expects its joint venture with William Hill could generate revenue of $600m to $700m over the next financial year.

The merger comes after a challenging period for the British bookies, however, which has been hit by lockdown closures during the pandemic.

The company’s profit crashed 91 per cent to just £9.1m last year and it was forced to close 119 of its 1,500 UK stores.