William Hill backs Caesars' $3.7 billion takeover bid

A pedestrian walks past a William Hill betting shop in London, Britain July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

(Reuters) – William Hill WMH.L said on Wednesday it had agreed to be acquired by Caesars Entertainment CZR.O, which has valued the British bookmaker at 2.9 billion pounds ($3.72 billion), and would give the U.S. casino operator full control of a quickly expanding U.S. sports-betting and online business.

“The William Hill Board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders,” William Hill Chairman Roger Devlin said.

The agreement comes soon after William Hill said it was inclined to recommend Caesars’ offer of 272 pence per share. Stock had dropped on Monday after analysts noted the bid significantly undervalued the company.

The Caesars Palace owner intends to find alternative owners for William Hill’s non-U.S. businesses, including more than 1,400 UK betting shops, and said it would integrate the U.S. business into Caesars with minimal, if any, job cuts.

William Hill shares on Friday surged to a two-year high above 312 pence after it said it had received separate offers from Caesars and buyout group Apollo APO.N.

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