By Rusty Brooks
William Hill said it had been approached by private-equity giant Apollo Global Management and casino operator Caesars Entertainment, causing a surge in the stock price.
Apollo is run by billionaire buyout king Leon Black. Black is a son of Eli M. Black, a prominent Jewish businessman who emigrated from Poland and was best known for owning the United Brands Company. His mother, Shirley Lubell (sister of Tulsa oil executive Benedict I. Lubell) was an artist.
He specializes in leveraged buyouts and private equity. He co-founded the private equity firm Apollo Global Management in 1990. He is the chairman of MoMA.
Black is married to Debra Ressler, a Broadway producer and sister of Ares Management co-founder Antony Ressler, Bloomberg chronicled.
Caesars, the other interested firm runs more than 55 resorts. Both potential buyers have until Oct. 23 to announce whether they will make an offer, the company said.
The long standing gambling booking business, was founded by William Hill in 1934 at a time when gambling was illegal in Britain. It changed hands many times, being acquired by Sears Holdings in 1971, then by Grand Metropolitan in 1988, then by Brent Walker in 1989, according to the company’s history. William Hill has continued to change hands over the last two. decades, and was eventually listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2002.
The company operates worldwide, employing approximately 14,000 people with main offices in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar, offering betting by phone and Internet together with their 1,568 UK-wide Licensed Betting Offices. Its tele-betting call centers , which are located in Rotherham, South Yorkshire took 125,000 bets on the 2007, Grand National and according to the company its betting shops process more than one million betting slips on an average day, according to company press releases.
The also opened the first full-service betting operation housing professional sports teams in the U.S. at Capitol One Arena in Washington D.C
“There can be no certainty that any offer for William Hill will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made,” William Hill said in a Friday statement.
NY Post reported: Apollo declined to comment Friday and Caesars did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The companies’ share prices shot up as much as 3.2 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, on news of their interest in William Hill