Bookmaker William Hill Acquired by Caesars Entertainment for £2.9 Billion
William Hill is one of the largest bookmakers with over 15,000 people working in their offices across the globe. The sportsbook operator not only offers casino-style games but takes wagers on hundreds of millions of bets each and every year. They are truly one of the giants, so when it was announced at the end of September that they had been acquired by Caesars Entertainment, it truly sent shockwaves through the industry.
A Little About William Hill
The online casino and betting that William Hill offers has helped to make it a site that is very popular in parts of Asia. While ranked as the number one bookmaker in the United Kingdom, they have established themselves as a reliable and entertaining way to place wagers and play casino-style games across the planet.
William Hill offers a live casino that is available 24 hours a day. The casino provides roulette, blackjack, casino hold’em, and baccarat. They also offer popular theme-based slot machines among other games. Users are able to place wagers on any major sporting event across the globe, whether it is Canadian hockey, Indian cricket, or American football.
Acquisitions Often Occur at the Highest Levels
This kind of deal is not surprising at all. Big-name companies acquire rivals on a regular basis or they buy those businesses that they think can bring them bigger profits. Just this last November, Microsoft corporation acquired Nokia, one of the leaders in cellular phone technology.
This was a deal that made total sense because Nokia was already using the Windows Phone as their operating system. Now, Microsoft owns 10% of the overall smartphone market through the deal. All it took them was $7.2 billion to make the deal a reality.
This is one type of deal where a company makes an acquisition with a company that is already using their services. Thus, they take over the middleman. This is not always the way, however. In some deals, one company acquires another to expand into areas where they did not have a presence. This is what happened with Caesars Entertainment.
Caesars Entertainment Makes a Deal
Any news regarding a huge operation like this is going to hit the front page, but an acquisition such as this is definitely the headliner. On September 30, it was announced that Caesars Entertainment, Inc. had acquired William Hill as a cash acquisition for £2.9 billion.
The press release explained “The historic acquisition would bring together Caesars as one of the largest gaming-entertainment companies in the U.S. and one of the world’s most diversified gaming entertainment provisions, and William Hill as one of the world’s leading betting and gambling companies.”
In a statement, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg said, “The opportunity to combine our land-based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the U.S. is a truly exciting prospect. William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to serve our customers in the fast-growing U.S. sports betting and online market. We look forward to working with William Hill to support future growth in the U.S. by providing our customers with a superior and comprehensive experience across all areas of gaming, sports betting, and entertainment.”
A Move with an Eye on the Future
This is a bold and likely a very lucrative move for Caesars. As the sports betting and online gaming markets in the United States increases, Caesars Entertainment puts itself at the forefront of this industry. Currently, only 19 states have some form of legalized gambling, but there are at least a dozen more that have bills working their way through the state legislature that could legalize gambling in their states by the end of next year.
By acquiring William Hill, Caesars now has a well-established sportsbook they can use to gain licensure in the states. William Hill has already opened physical sports betting locations in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, and they offer their online sportsbook in four of those states. This instantly moves Caesars Entertainment into these markets and establishes a reputation for success that should help them to garner immediate licensure when it becomes available in states approving gambling in the future.
Caesars already owns and operates 54 domestic properties in 16 states in the U.S. This includes primary ownership in four resorts, including Caesars and Harrah’s. Now they have a growing sportsbook commodity to further expansion.
No Need to Worry
For employees, this could be a stressful time as they worry about the loss of their job. However, the release explained that “it is very much business as usual.” They added that as they further integrate operations with Caesars that “Employees will be kept fully informed through this process. In terms of our U.K. and International businesses, we believe they have a strong future ahead and we will work with Caesars to find suitable partners to further the long-term growth prospects of these businesses.”
How the acquisition will affect employees long-term seems up in the air at this point but, for now, it looks like the leadership at William Hill will remain in place. Keeping the company moving forward looks to be the primary focus for right now and making wholesale changes does not look to be the smart move at this time.