Apollo formally withdraws from Willliam Hill bid
Private equity group Apollo Global Management on Thursday formally withdrew from the race for bookmaker William Hill.
It had originally approached the company about a full takeover but opted to step back after a rival approach from Caesars Entertainment.
The Las Vegas-based casino operator has since made a £2.9bn recommended bid for William Hill, but has made clear that it only wants the group’s American betting operations and will sell the rest of the assets, valued at about £1.2bn.
Reports suggested Caesars, which has a 20% stake in William Hill’s US operations, is likely to include its own British business in the sell-off. Caesars UK has seven casinos in Britain, including the Playboy Club and Empire Casino in London.
Apollo said the decision to not make an offer for the entire company does not affect its other plans, referring to its intention to buy William Hill’s UK assets.
The William Hill operations that Caesars wants to sell include 1,400 UK betting shops, online operations and other European operations. Rival Betfred has built a 6% stake in William Hill and is reported to be interested in its shops but Caesars is thought to favour selling the retail and digital operations in one block.
William Hill is leading the pack in the growing US sports betting market, which is slowly being legalised across the country.
The takeover bid from Caesars Entertainment is due to be voted on by shareholders in two weeks and because it is being structured as a scheme of arrangement must be approved by investors speaking for 75% of votes cast.