Advent International Clashes With Apollo Global To Get William Hill’s Operations

by Sonja • July 23, 2021
apollo and advent battle over william hill operations - featured image.

When Caesars Entertainment took over William Hill back in April, the company announced it was only interested in William Hill’s US assets. The European operations were left out, and multiple companies have since shown interest in acquiring them.

Apollo Global was a leading contender in this bid, but 888 Holdings and Apollo Global Management have since joined it. The auction is expected to begin at $1.2 billion, but some experts believe it might rise to $1,46 billion.

William Hill is a brand with a long history. Dating back to 1934, it’s one of the oldest gambling operators in the US today. When Caesars Entertainment acquired it, William Hill had 1,400 betting shops. After the $2.9 billion acquisition, Caesars Entertainment rebranded the operator to start selling off its non-US assets.

Once the acquisition was announced, Tom Reeg, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment, commented, “William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast-growing US sports betting and online market.”

One of the reasons Caesars Entertainment wanted to get rid of William Hill’s non-US operations was the rather conservative approach of the US investors. As Reeg explained, “You shouldn’t expect us to be just throwing money away to buy market share. You should expect us to build this thoughtfully, but you should expect to see a significant increase in investment in this side now that we’ve got all our ducks in a row.”

Both Apollo and 888 Holdings have a lot of experience in this industry, which gives them a bit of leverage. Advent, however, has never had any deals with a gambling entity, and the experts are a bit sceptical about it entering the bid.

As the race for William Hill’s non-US operations continues to intensify, rumours are circulating that Entain and Betfred could join in as well. However, there are indications that in case Apollo or Advent win the auction, they would like to keep the current management. Ulrik Bengtsson is the company’s chief executive, and he has been with William Hill since 2019. He helped with the acquisition of Mr Green and the integration of US retail and online operations when the pandemic started.