German sports betting group Tipico has reportedly entered the race for William Hill’s non-US operations, joining the likes of Apollo Global Management and 888 Holdings.
Sky News reported Thursday that Tipico Group has made a “credible” offer for William Hill’s UK retail betting network as well as the legacy bookmaker’s domestic and international online operations.
The British betting house was acquired by US casino powerhouse Caesars Entertainment in a £2.9 billion deal that was finalized this past spring.
Caesars is looking to sell William Hill’s non-US business to focus its attention on growing the bookmaker’s US operations as sports betting is expanding fast in that country following the 2018 annulment of a long-standing ban on the practice. The casino operator has tapped Deutsche Bank to conduct an auction and handle the sale.
Caesars is expected to fetch in the region of £1.5 billion, possibly more, for William Hill’s non-US assets.
Tipico is Germany’s largest sports betting operator and analysts believe that the company’s interest in William Hill represents a “logical fit” with the latter’s portfolio. The British bookmaker was founded in the 1930s. Its eponymous founder originally launched a postal and telephone-based betting service and added betting shops to the business in the 1960s.
The company currently runs 1,400 retail wagering points around the UK, in addition to betting and gaming websites in its domestic market and in a handful of regulated continental European markets.
Joining a Host of Powerful Bidders
Tipico, which is majority-owned by London-headquartered private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, has joined US buyout firm Apollo Global Management and online gambling group 888 Holdings in the race for William Hill’s non-US operations.
Advent International, another private equity firm, earlier this month expressed interest in the British gambling operator, but is believed to no longer be vying for its UK and international operations.
Entain, the owner of betting shop operators Ladbrokes and Coral, is understood to have too decided against tabling a formal bid for its rival, despite previously saying it was potentially interested in its non-US operations.
A Tipico-William Hill link-up would reunite the latter firm with CVC after nearly two decades. The private equity firm along with fellow Cinven purchased the legendary bookmaker in 1999 for £825 million. They offloaded their stakes in the company in 2003, a year after its successful London listing.
CVC purchased a majority stake in Tipico in the spring of 2016.
The German operator also has operations in Austria, Colombia, and Croatia. Last year, it also expanded its operations in the US where it has secured deals to operate in New Jersey and Colorado. Earlier this week, Tipico announced a $90-million deal with USA Today owner Gannett Co. that makes the sports betting operator the media company’s exclusive sports betting and iGaming partner.
As part of the five-year alliance, Gannett will integrate Tipico’s odds, props, free-to-play games and betting trends throughout its network and more than 200 affiliated properties.
Source: CVC-backed German gambling group Tipico joins £1.5bn race for William Hill, Sky News, July 29, 2021
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