Caesars Looks To Offload Non-US William Hill Assets; Britain's 888 Holdings In Talks

By Martin Baccardax

British gaming group 888 Holdings said Tuesday that its in advanced discussions with Caesars Entertainment  (CZR Get Caesars Entertainment Corporation Report to buy the non-U.S. operations of bookmaker William Hill.

Caesars, which bought William Hill for around $3.7 billion earlier this year, is looking to sell the bookmaker's non-U.S. assets, which include thousands of U.K.-based betting shops, in order to pay down debt while it focuses on integrating its U.S. business into the broader Caesars empire.

William Hill, a familiar figure in British culture owing to its sports betting dominance in that market, has been operating U.S. sports books since 2012 and has operations in 13 states. It also has an existing 20% partnership with Caesars. 

888 Holdings confirmed the advanced talks Tuesday, but noted that 'there can be no certainty that these advanced discussions will result in a transaction." Private equity group Apollo Global Management  (APO Get Apollo Global Management Inc. Class A Report is also reportedly interested in the non-U.S. portion of the William Hill business.

Caesars shares closed at $103.56 each Friday following a modest move higher that boosted the stock's year-to-date gain to around 44.6%.

Sports betting stocks, and the sector in general, have been on a steady rise since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a decades old law that prohibited New Jersey from allowing sports wagers to be placed at state casinos.

The ruling allowed other states to challenge the 1992 Federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that effectively allowed only Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana to offer full or limited facilities in the $150 billion sports betting market. 

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