Betting giant Caesars Entertainment has tabled a £2.9 billion bid for UK-based bookmaker William Hill and is in “advanced discussions” regarding a takeover, according to an announcement from the US company.
Caesars offered William Hill’s shareholders 272 pence per share for the UK firm, a premium of 57.6% on its 1 September closing price, the last day before Caesars first approached the company about a potential takeover.
Caesars said that William Hill’s board was “minded to recommend” the offer to its shareholders.
News of a bidding war between Caesars and buyout fund Apollo emerged last week, boosting William Hill’s shares to 312 pence each by close of play on Friday. However, Monday trading saw it shed around 11% to 278.5 pence, leaving the company with a value of £2.9 billion.
Caesars already owns a 20% stake in William Hill’s operations in the US, which includes exclusive rights to operate sports betting under the Caesars brand.
“The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect,” said Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars. “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.”
Apollo – which is also one of two firms competing to buy UK supermarket giant Asda – has yet to publish details of its potential offer for William Hill.