Caesars William Hill Takeover Wins UK Scheme Court Approval
The UK Scheme Court has signed off on Caesars Entertainment’s (NASDAQ:CZR) $3.69 billion takeover of William Hill (OTC:WIMHY), setting the stage for the transaction to soon close. The Las Vegas-based casino operator revealed its offer for the British bookmaker last September, leveraging an agreement in the US with William Hill to compel the target to accept the bid and not entertain proposals from other suitors.
“William Hill is pleased to announce that the High Court of Justice in England and Wales has today sanctioned the Scheme pursuant to which the Acquisition is being implemented,” said the company in a statement. “It is anticipated that the effective date will be April 22, 2021, which is when a copy of the court order is expected to be delivered to the registrar of companies.”
The UK-based company added it filed applications with regulators to suspend trading of its London-listed shares, noting April 21 should be the last day of dealings in the stock. Entering this year, Caesars executives said the transaction would likely close early in the second quarter.
Following implementation of the acquisition, the William Hill brand will appear on Caesars’ brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, except those at properties with the Caesars Palace name. After Caesars dangled loss of the aforementioned US accord over William Hill’s head last year, the takeover was rapidly approved, with market participants speculating the only remaining hurdle was regulatory approvals.
However, late in the game, multiple hedge funds holding stakes in the UK company said they planned to contest the transaction. They contended on the basis that the companies didn’t adequately disclose the terms of their US accord, nor did William Hill effectively convey to investors that Caesars held rights to add names to a list of potential suitors that target could not accept offers from.