Shares of William Hill, one of the world’s largest betting companies, rose over 30% in overseas trading on Friday after news that it received takeover offers from investment firm Apollo Global Management as well as U.S. casino operator Caesars Entertainment.
William Hill’s stock was up 34% after the company confirmed that it had received separate cash proposals from the two groups on Friday, Bloomberg reported.
The U.K. bookmaker said that talks are still ongoing and that Apollo and Caesars have until October 23 to make a formal offer or walk away from a potential deal.
“Following an initial written proposal from Apollo on 27 August 2020, William Hill received a further proposal from Apollo and proposals from Caesars,” the company said.
Shares of Caesars Entertainment rose nearly 7% on the news, while Apollo’s stock was up almost 3%.
News of a potential takeover comes as William Hill has been faced with the economic fallout from coronavirus and stricter gambling regulations in the U.K., including stake limits on betting machines.
William Hill has offset regulatory pressures at home by expanding into the U.S. gambling market where sports betting rules are being relaxed, and has already solidified partnerships with CBS Sports, Caesars and ESPN.
William Hill was founded in 1934 and is today one of the world’s largest sports betting companies, with offices in 10 countries, according to its website.The company has focused on building its online businesses since Ulrik Bengtsson, who was formerly William Hill’s chief digital officer, took over as CEO a year ago. William Hill has also been growing its footprint in the United States, especially since the Supreme Court lifted a ban on sports betting in May 2018. Like many other gambling firms during the coronavirus pandemic, William Hill has seen more customers switch to online betting leading it to close 119 shops last month as it focuses on becoming more digital. In recent weeks, however, William Hill’s business has picked back up thanks to the return of big sporting events like horse-racing, soccer in England and Germany, as well as Major League Baseball in the United States.
What To Watch For
William Hill is already a partner of Caesar and the two companies have discussed merging some of their operations in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. Apollo, meanwhile, has a history of investing in gambling companies: It partnered with TPG for a 2008 leveraged buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment, which was later renamed Caesars Entertainment, and last year acquired a stake in Italy’s Gamenet Group.
Penn National Gaming Stock Can Surge Higher Thanks To ‘Portnoy Momentum Trade,’ Stifel Says (Forbes)
DraftKings Stock Jumps Over 16% After Announcing ESPN Deal (Forbes)
Nike Stock Jumps Nearly 10% After Reporting Surge In Online Sales (Forbes)