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William Hill betting shops set for bidding war

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Suban Abdulla
·2-min read
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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 28: A general view of a William Hill betting shop in Camden Town on November 28, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
William Hill, founded in 1934, was one of the first UK operators in the US, which is now in the grip of a gambling gold rush after a decades-long ban on gambling was overturned in 2018. Photo: John Keeble/Getty

Las Vegas casino giant Caesars Entertainment (CZR) is plotting to sell William Hill's non-American assets, a few months after taking over the business. 

It comes after Caesars acquired one of the oldest names in the British gambling industry after completing a $3.7bn (£2.7bn) takeover deal last month. 

The sale concerns around 1,400 William Hill high street shops across the UK and could fetch as much as £1.5bn, the Telegraph reported. 

William's Hill's UK and European online businesses are also part of the auction. 

The Wall Street buyout firm Apollo Global Management (APO) has joined the bidding war for the outfit with the Israeli gambling tycoons, Shaked Ventures, behind FTSE 250 (^FTMC) operator 888 Holdings (888.L), according to the newspaper. 

Apollo, a private equity company, which was in the running to buy supermarket Asda last autumn, is said to be in pole position having already attempted to buy the whole package last year. 

William Hill, founded in 1934, was one of the first UK operators in the US, which is now in the grip of a gambling gold rush after a decades-long ban on gambling was overturned in 2018.

Yahoo Finance has approached all parties involved for comment. 

READ MORE: Topshop's empty Oxford Street premises on sale for £420m

It follows a flurry of takeover interest from American gambling companies in Britain's betting industry.

US gambling companies have been tapping into the expertise of UK rivals in recent months as sports betting has taken off in America and a rise in online gambling during the COVID pandemic.

In March, jackpot-joy owner Gamesys (GYS.L) agreed a possible takeover by Bally's Corporation (BALY) in a deal valued at more than £2bn. 

FTSE 100 (^FTSE) firm and Ladbrokes owner Entain (ENT.L) earlier this year rebuffed an approach from American casino stalwart MGM.  

Entain posted a £175m profit in the year to the end of 2020, on revenues that were flat at £3.6bn — a 28% increase in income from online gambling. 

Flutter (FLTR.L), the owner of SkyBet and Paddy Power, reported record revenues in its US business in the first three months of 2021. 

Revenues at the FTSE 100 gambling giant were up 32% to £1.5bn in the three months to end March. Group online revenues rose 42% on the same period a year ago, with UK and Ireland online sales 35% higher.

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