Caesars Entertainment’s recent purchase of the UK operator William Hill came with some extra baggage that’s just not needed when your goal is dominating the US market. That excess baggage comes in the form of 1,400 retail betting shops scattered throughout the UK, and it’s set to be auctioned to the highest bidder in the coming months.
These shops are a valuable asset on their own right (they’re expected to fetch around $1.5 billion) but keeping them as part of the Caesars Entertainment family has never been part of the plan. After all, there’s very little retail sports betting in the US, and Caesars has its hands full with its own land-based operations. But just because Caesars doesn’t want William Hill’s non-US assets, doesn’t mean that nobody does.
According to a report in the UK Telegraph, there’s no shortage of potential buyers for the remains of the William Hill empire. The two top contender are Apollo Global Management and 888 Holdings. Apollo Global Management is a Wall Street buyout firm, while 888 Holdings is a well-known, licensed gambling operator run out of Israel by the Shaked family.
Currently, Apollo Global Management seems to have a slight edge over 888 Holdings after just getting beat out by Caesars Entertainment to purchase William Hill. That means they’ve got a considerable advantage over their rivals when it comes to due diligence on the purchase.
UK media is also reporting that BetFred fouder Fred Dunn, a billionaire in his right, is interested in acquiring the William Hill retail assets. But Dunn is considered to be a long horse in this race.
Caesars Entertainment was very clear from the beginning of their quest to purchase William Hill that they would only be keeping the company’s US assets.