Mar 30, 2021

Hedge funds hit out at William Hill over disclosure around takeover

Two hedge funds have accused the board of William Hill of failing to disclose information about the bookmaker's takeover by the casino group Caesars as they push for shareholders to have a second vote on the deal. GWM, which revealed its intention to contest the takeover on Monday, said in a letter seen by the Financial Times that the board had failed to disclose "Potentially material" information about Caesars' ability to terminate its joint venture with William Hill in the US should another acquirer attempt to buy the UK bookmaker. Last week HBK, which has a 10 per cent exposure to William Hill, sent a public letter to the board arguing that it had "Led the market to believe that no rival bid for William Hill would ever be possible". GWM has exposure to just over 1 per cent of William Hill shares through derivative trades, but said it wanted to contest the deal on the grounds that it was "Contrary to the spirit of the UK takeover code". According to HBK, William Hill did not disclose until the day of the shareholder vote that Caesars could in fact only add six names to the list and that it could substitute just one of those names every six months.

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