“The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect,” Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said in the statement. “William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast growing US sports betting and online market.”
The American Gaming Association expects nearly 35 million people, or 13% of American adults, to bet on the NFL this season.
“Caesars believes that the sports betting and online gaming sector represents one of the largest areas of growth in the US gaming industry,” the company said in the statement, citing analyst estimates valuing the market at up to $35 billion.
Shares in London-listed William Hill surged 41% on Friday to £3.10 ($3.94) per share, after the company said it had received offers from both Caesars and private equity firm, Apollo, suggesting that a bidding war could emerge.
But the stock pulled back on Monday, tumbling 11% after William Hill said it was “minded” to recommend the Caesars offer to shareholders. Caesars said it would be entitled to terminate the US joint venture agreement if Apollo bought the company.
“The deal, if it’s approved, isn’t expected to close until the second half of 2021, at a time when the sporting calendar on both sides of the Atlantic is expected to be back in full swing,” senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Susannah Streeter said in a note to clients.
— Paul La Monica contributed reporting.