William Hill shareholders have approved the proposed takeover of UK-based sportsbook by the Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment, Inc.
The shareholders supported the $3.7 billion deal on a meeting held on Thursday, with 87.1% of the majority that will see Caesars completing William Hill’s “historic acquisition” by the next year subject to the British court’s approval. The vote majority was far more comfortable than the required 75% to consummate the deal. William Hill tweeted out the outcome of the vote on November 19.
Both parties are reportedly heading towards securing all the necessary regulatory requirements required to close the transaction. According to Caesars, the end of the second quarter of 2021 is the realistic target to conclude the deal.
Regarding the voting on implementing Caesars Entertainment’s acquisition scheme at the General Meeting, 87.1% of the vote was in support. Only a 75% approval was required to gain passage.
The 1251 stakeholders who voted in favor of the acquisition deal at the Court Meeting on Thursday hold a combined 86.6% of William Hill’s total shares. Except for 288 holders, who owned nearly 13% of the British sportsbook’s eligible share, all favored the $3.85 billion (£2.9 billion) takeover by the US casino operator.
Every shareholder who was present remotely or by proxy obtained a single vote for each of their William Hill shares. The company’s board unanimously agreed to approve Caesar’s exclusive deal in September. The next phase will see Caesars paying 272 pence for each of the almost 1.1 billion shares to acquire William Hill’s US-based operations.
While commenting on the latest development, Caesars Entertainment CEO, Tom Reeg, said, “We’re glad to have received William Hill shareholders’ support for our recommended cash offer.” He added that Caesars continues to work towards satisfying the remaining regulatory conditions, besides looking forward to closing the transaction next year and integrating William Hill US into its sports betting and iGaming franchise.
Caesars recently obtained approval for the acquisition from the competition authorities in Austria and now looking to receive the remaining regulatory approvals by the end of March 2021. Other required closing conditions are outstanding aside from the regulatory approvals.
William Hill, A Quick Takeover
In September, Caesars agreed to acquire William Hill, whose board immediately backed the takeover. Though there was a rival suitor, private equity firm Apollo, it proved to be a quick and smooth process for Caesars, who threatened to terminate certain aspects of the existing partnership if William Hill accepted the rival bid. Apollo backtracked from its takeover approach last week. It is now interested in a more viable option: William Hill’s non-US operations that Caesars wants to sell after the takeover process finalizes.
Caesars already owns a 20% share in William Hill’s US operations, and have exclusive rights to operate sports betting under the Caesars name.
Caesars won the bidding war for William Hill quickly for being in an advantageous position over its rival bidder. Its 272 pence bid was a 25% premium on the 217.60 pence the British sportsbook was trading at on September 24, the day before William Hill revealed it had competing offers from Caesars and Apollo Global Management.
Besides having a racebook in Miami, William Hill conducts sports betting operations in 12 of the US states and the District of Columbia. The deal enabled link integrations from ESPN’s digital platforms to William Hill’s sports betting app.
Caesars Plans For William Hill
Caesars has made it public that its exclusive focus is on William Hill’s US betting operations, which consists of 17 retail shops across 13 states. The owners have also said that they plan to sell William Hill’s non-US operations, including 1,400 UK betting shops, and it already has several potential parties, including Apollo and 888 Holdings, eager to claim the consolation.
The American casino giants believe that the combined sports betting and online gambling operations could generate a revenue of up to $700 million in the next fiscal year.