After taking over William Hill in April, Caesars Entertainment announced it was only interested in keeping the United States assets. This leaves the European business up for grabs. Several companies have shown interest in acquiring the non-US assets with Advent International and Apollo Global Management and 888 Holdings the latest to come forward.
The William Hill brand dates back to 1934 and is a well-established business. The group that takes over the European side will gain access to 1400 betting shops, along with online operations that are focused on Europe and the UK. It is expected that the auction for the business will garner at least £1.2 billion.
Reports suggest that Apollo is the favorite to win the auction. The private equity firm had tried to buy William Hill outright before Caesars Entertainment was in the mix. Analysts say that the company has completed its due diligence and will not miss out again, however, it is not certain that the company will be able to acquire the brand.
It is also believed that if Apollo or Advent wins the auction, the companies will ask the existing management team to say on. Ulrik Bengtsson is currently the chief executive of the company, and he would be asked to run the business.
Bengtsson has been with William Hill since 2019 and helped with the acquisition of Mr Green as well as the integration of UK retail and online operations after shops were closed due to a government change involving fixed-odds betting terminals.
It seems other bidders are also in the mix to own the European business side of William Hill. Betfred is supposedly interested, having an eye on the betting shops of the brand. Entain has also shown interest, looking at the online assets of the company. While these companies seem to be focused on one aspect of the brand, Deutsche Bank is only willing to accept bids on the entirety of the business.
Back in June, BoyleSports began to show interest in the William Hill acquisition as well. Currently, the company has 66 retail shops in the UK. By taking on the William Hill brand, its shop total would be much larger, as the brand has around 1,400 locations.
A spokesperson for BoyleSports, who remained unidentified, reportedly spoke with the Racing Post, revealing that the company would be interested in acquiring some or all of the shops that William Hill has in the United Kingdom.