Since the death of its legendary (and eponymous) founder in 1971, bookmaking giant William Hill has had six different owners and it could be about to have a seventh, after news the firm has received separate bids from private equity firm Apollo Management and American casino and gaming giant Caesars Entertainment,” says Russ Mould, AJ Bell Investment Director.
“Talks surrounding both cash proposals are ongoing and there is no certainty that a deal will follow. Long-term shareholders of William Hill will remember how a joint-bid from 888 and Rank and a separate approach from Amaya (now part of Flutter Entertainment) both failed to make it over the finish line back in 2016.
“Nevertheless, an approach for Hills is entirely understandable, even allowing for its woes in the UK, where limits to stakes on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals, increased taxes and stricter regulation have hit its high street operations hard.
“Further hampered by the pandemic and cancellation of sports upon which punters could bet, the bookie would have made a loss in the first half of 2020 had it not been for a VAT refund, thanks to a reassessment of the value of its betting shops. The FTSE 250 firm also raised £224 million via a placing priced at 128p a share, to shore up its balance sheet.