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UPDATE 2-William Hill gets bid approaches from Apollo and Caesars

Fri, 25th Sep 2020 13:23

* Separate cash proposals from Apollo, Caesars

* Company does not give value of proposals

* Shares jump 27%
(Updates shares, adds market cap, background)

By Tanishaa Nadkar

Sept 25 (Reuters) - William Hill has received rival
takeover proposals from buyout firm Apollo and U.S.
casino operator Caesars Entertainment, the British
betting firm said on Friday, without disclosing the value of the
offers.

Shares in William Hill, which had a market value of 2.28
billion pounds ($2.90 billion) at Thursday's close, soared 37%
to 298.3 pence on news of the cash proposals.

The offers come as Britain's betting shops are reeling from
coronavirus-related restrictions on social movement and
struggling with stricter regulations.

However, William Hill has offset the regulatory pressure at
home by expanding in the United States, and has partnered with
CBS Sports, Caesars and ESPN to cash in on a relaxation of
sports betting rules there.

Its shares were already trading close to two-year highs
before news of the takeover proposals, having fallen to their
lowest in 20 years in March.

"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, adding
that talks were ongoing.

Apollo and Caesars have until Oct. 23 to either announce a
firm intention to make an offer or walk away.

Gambling firms have seen customers switch to online casino
and bingo games as people spend more time indoors, leading
William Hill to announce the closure of 119 shops last month as
it becomes more digital.

It has also been helped by the return of sporting events
such as horse-racing, top tier soccer in England and Germany, as
well as Major League Baseball in the United States.

Bloomberg earlier reported Apollo had approached William
Hill about a potential deal. Apollo declined to comment on that
report.

($1 = 0.7852 pounds)
(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan and Julien Ponthus in London;
Editing by Anil D'Silva and Mark Potter)

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