Casino and hotel giant Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) made a $3.7 billion bid for London-based sports betting company William Hill (OTC:WIMHY) over the weekend, according to Bloomberg, potentially accelerating its push into digital wagering and online sportsbook activities.
Caesars offered a bid of 272 pence per share, a 25% premium above William Hill’s Thursday closing price, though the sportsbook company’s stocks jumped to around 280 pence per share on Friday after traders and shareholders caught wind of the offer.
Online sports betting is a swiftly expanding market, with the Colorado Department of Revenue reporting an August 2020 117% surge month over month in sportsbook wagering.
Caesars isn’t alone in its efforts to acquire William Hill outright. Apollo Global Management has also tendered an offer to buy the British bookmaker. The Yorkshire Post reports William Hill is giving serious consideration to both offers.
Caesars could potentially hold an advantage in the bidding, since it is already working in partnership with William Hill and holds a 20% stake in the company’s U.S. operations. According to a statement from William Hill, the two companies have been contending to acquire it since late August, and are legally obliged by UK law to “announce a firm intention to make an offer” or abandon the intention by Oct. 23.
The seriousness of Caesars’ acquisition intentions is underlined by its announced offering of 30 million shares of common stock today, with the press release noting the proceeds could be used to fund the William Hill purchase.