Advent International, a Boston-based private equity firm, has been mentioned as a potential buyer for William Hill’s UK and European operations.
According to The Times, Advent is one among a slew of companies interested in acquiring William Hill’s UK and European offshoots, which were declared expendable by new owner Caesars Entertainment in its quest to become the undisputed market leader in US online gambling.
Along with Apollo Global, Advent is listed as a private equity fund that will compete against industry incumbents for the legacy UK betting group, which Caesars expects to sell for £1.2 billion.
According to The Times, City insiders predict Apollo will win William Hill’s auction, citing the +$90 billion fund’s rapid expansion into gaming areas, including the acquisition of Gamenet Italia and the Venetian Resorts in Las Vegas.
However, there is no guarantee that Apollo would win the proposal, which will require PE funds to persuade William Hill’s management staff, led by Ulrik Bengtsson, to stay on if Caesars agrees to sell its holdings.
Advent’s potential bid was kept under wraps because the US fund has no prior experience investing in the casino industry.
Many corporations join bidding
Week each week, more corporations are revealed to be bidding in William Hill’s auction, in which all major publicly traded gaming companies have been mentioned as potential suitors.
Caesars remains adamant that it would sell William Hill’s UK and European assets this year, although it has failed to produce a solid plan for selling the betting group’s 1,400 UK betting estates, William Hill Online, and Mr Green European igaming business.
The auction for William Hill takes place against the backdrop of the UK government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act, which will have an impact on the value of William Hill assets, depending on the conclusion of the proceedings.