Entain plans to bid for William Hill’s assets in Europe

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 20 May 2021, 12:41 p.m.

It seems like Entain is closely monitoring William Hill’s European and UK operational assets. This happens after William Hill rejected the takeover bid from MGM Resorts in January.

Attractive acquisition opportunity

After the official acquisition by Caesars Entertainment, all non-US divisions are put up for sale. A representative for the public says that all assets are being put up for bidding in two weeks, including all 1,400 UK and Irish retail betting shops, totalling around £1.06 billion in revenue. What’s interesting here is that Caesars and its partners are open and willing to sell the properties within 12 months to pay down a £1.4 billion debt.

In a recent interview, the CEO of Entain Jette Nygaard-Andersen announced that they’re considering the possibility of acquiring all assets, which are set to be divested by Caesars Entertainment as the new owner. If the takeover happens, this would significantly improve Entain’s position in the UK market, where it already owns around 40% of retail betting outlets through partnerships with Ladbrokes and Coral.

According to Bloomberg’s stats, the volume of casino deals that are both pending and completed is up to 33%. Some of the most significant deals were the merger between Gamesys and Bally’s Corporation and Las Vegas’ Venetian sale to Apollo Global.

There’s room for competition

Entain will undoubtedly face stiff competition if other corporations place their bids. Apollo Global is considered the lead opponent because they already have access to William Hill’s books when they were competing against Caesars for the US takeover. Further bidders include the renowned 888 Holdings, who wish to expand their UK profile, and the owner of Betfred, Fred Done.

The private equity fund is also a strong candidate for William Hill’s non-US assets, who mainly lost the race to Caesars because the casino operator already had joint sports betting business with William Hill.

Entain has been in the spotlight for the last few days for all the right reasons. Recently, an Environmental Social and Governance report published the operator insights, stating that they note a 30% increase in customer interactions for responsible gambling reasons in 2020. Moreover, they also saw an 84% increase in the number of customers setting time and spend limits using safer betting tools.
The company also tripled its contributions to gaming charities, with £9.7 million in donations that notes a 169% increase from 2019. Finally, the number of self-exclusions reduced, which points to the decrease in the number of customer complaints.

ESG committee chair said that they’d adapted their betting and gaming measures to respond to the change in player behaviour and possible risks in light of the global pandemic disruption. In the future, they’ll continue to support the new and existing good practices and partners throughout this period of re-opening and recovery.