By Tanishaa Nadkar
(Reuters) – U.S. casino operator Caesars Entertainment agreed on Wednesday to buy British-based gambling group William Hill for 2.9 billion pounds ($3.7 billion) to expand in the fast-growing U.S. sports-betting market.
The U.S. group, owner of Las Vegas’s Caesars Palace, intends to sell William Hill’s non-U.S. operations, including more than 1,400 UK betting shops, and said it would integrate the U.S. business into Caesars with few, if any, job losses.
It could sell the UK assets to private equity group Apollo, sources told Reuters this week, and if that failed, launch an auction process.
Online gaming firm 888 said it would be interested.
“We’re looking at different activities and bolt-on acquisitions. This (William Hill’s European business) can definitely fall under that category,” CEO Itai Pazner told Reuters.
Stifel analyst Bridie Barrett, meanwhile, said she viewed a tie-up between Caesars and 888 as increasingly likely in the medium