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HBK Investments to contest Caesars’ William Hill acquisition


Investment management fund HBK Investments (HBK) is set to challenge the proposed merger between Caesars and William Hill.

The Scheme Court Hearing date set to finalize the deal has been pushed back a day to March 31 as a result.

Caesars announced earlier this month that it was set to close the £2.9bn William Hill deal by April 1, subject to regulatory approval.

However HBK contests that the details within the scheme document – which provides details of the deal including who Caesars can add as restricted acquirers of William Hill – must be clarified.

“Our opposition is based upon our strongly held belief that shareholders voting on the scheme did so without information which would have allowed them to weigh up its true merits,” HBK Europe Management LLP said.

In particular, HBK’s concern centered on William Hill’s joint venture agreement with Eldorado Resorts, which later acquired and rebranded as Caesars.

HBK contests that Caesars’ ability to restrict counterbidders under the terms of this agreement was more limited than the scheme documents suggested.

The William Hill board has firmly refuted HBK’s suggestion, and remains confident that the proposed deal can go ahead as scheduled. It noted that 86.64% of William Hill shareholders voted in favor of the deal after several rounds of negotiations with Caesars.

Under the deal, Caesars will Caesars purchase William Hill’s 1.08bn shares for £2.72 each. The operator is expected to offload all but William Hill’s US business after it closes.

The acquisition follows Caesars’ acquisition by regional operator Eldorado Resorts for $17.3bn in a reverse-merger deal.