New bidding war! Caesars auction of William Hill retail shops likely to attract these suitors

Soon after Caesars revealed its bid for William Hill last September, the buyer made clear it would abandon its European operations eventually.

Apollo and 888 could bid for retail shops of William Hill in the UK.

Apollo and 888 could bid for retail shops of William Hill in the UK.

Caesars Entertainment just add the finishing touch to its $3.69 billion purchase of William Hill and as widely expected, the US gaming giant will soon auction off the British operator’s 1,400 retail shops.

The casino giant will put ’s brick-and-mortar sites up for sale in the coming week, reports The Telegraph. The transaction will also include the Europe and UK internet casinos and online sports betting operations. However, Caesars made clear it would discard its European operations eventually.

Private equity company Apollo Global Management and 888 Holdings are among the likely suitors for the William Hill’s European operations.

According to reports from The Telegraph, that Apollo has the inside track on the sale because it has deeper pockets than 888. Rumors surfaced earlier that the Israeli operator of online casinos is itself a takeover target but that remains speculation for now.

Apart from targeting at William Hill, Apollo has been active on the gaming acquisition front in recent months. It purchased Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and is partnering with VICI Properties to acquire the Venetian and Sands Expo and Convention Center. Additionally, the company already has an asset William Hill’s European unit could be paired with.

According to the reports, The buyout firm would be expected to combine William Hill with Gamenet, an Italian gambling operator it owns, and make cost cuts.

Last December, Apollo paid $1.15 billion to International Game Technology for Gamenet Group S.p.A, an Italian digital gaming and sports betting operator.

For its part, 888 makes for a logical suitor as well, because the company is more focused on iGaming and poker, indicating a sports wagering buy could nicely complement its existing assets.

Other bidders could include Betfred, though such a move could spur regulatory concerns, because that company has 1,600 retail locations in the UK. Swedish firms Betsson and Kindred could join the bid too since William Hill’s Mr. Green is already popular in the nation.


Editing by Rachel Hu