Caesars sells off William Hill’s non-US assets
- 1,400 William Hill High Street bookies up for grabs
- UK and European online businesses also thought to be for sale
- Group behind 888 Holdings expected to bid
- Caesars to concentrate on William Hill’s US operation
The expected fire sale of all William Hill’s non-US business interests is reportedly underway.
Caesars Interactive took over William Hill for $3.7 billion last month and was expected to concentrate on its new US-facing operations.
That means the rest of the business will be up for grabs, with the process already to claimed to have begun.
Up for sale will be William Hill’s 1,400 high street bookmakers, a high-profile asset in the UK and in parts of Ireland. Some analysts claim those retail bookies could be worth as much as £1.5 billion, recouping half of Caesars’ acquisition costs. William Hill’s online operations in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are also thought to be on the market.
Apollo lift off
Already some names are emerging as likely bidders. Apollo Global Management, which had shown an interest to buy the whole company last year, is expected to be one. At that time, Caesars turned the screw by saying if Apollo was successful, it could jeopardise the William Hill tie-up in the US.
Apollo, which is at an advantage having had access to William Hill’s books last year, would likely merge the British bookmaker with Gamenet, its subsidiary in Italy, making full use of the sports betting operations at William Hill.
Another possible contender for the William Hill assets is Shaked Ventures, the Israeli group behind 888 Holdings. 888 boss Itai Pazner has previously spoken of the company’s interest in William Hill. Last week he told analysts: “We have mentioned William Hill in the past, that could be something that we would be looking at. And I won’t change my comment on that.”
Betfred in running
More names include Betfred boss Fred Done, who would integrate the William Hill shops with his own, and Swedish operators the Kindred Group and Betsson, which have eyes on the William Hill online properties.
The sale of the William Hill assets is not expected to be announced formally until the summer, with any move not ratified until the end of the year.
It is also claimed that Caesars is interested in selling its nine UK casinos, including the Playboy London and the Empire.