Odds shortening over £6bn each-way bet on William Hill

So it turns out two companies are having a flutter on William Hill. 

It emerged on Friday that private equity firm Apollo and Caesars Entertainment – the casino group and Hill’s US partner – were fighting it out to buy the British bookmaker. 

The shares shot up 43 per cent, valuing William Hill at £3.3billion. 

Writing on the wall?: Private equity firm Apollo and Caesars Entertainment are fighting it out to buy the British bookmaker

Writing on the wall?: Private equity firm Apollo and Caesars Entertainment are fighting it out to buy the British bookmaker

Writing on the wall?: Private equity firm Apollo and Caesars Entertainment are fighting it out to buy the British bookmaker

That might sound a lot, but some are saying the company could be worth a lot more thanks to its booming US business. 

William Hill is separately in talks to merge its US business with Caesars’ online sports betting arm to create a standalone joint venture that will eventually be floated on the stock market.

The word is both companies don’t believe the value from their US businesses (Caesars already has a 20 per cent stake in William Hill US) is reflected in their respective share prices. 

David Bain, an analyst at Roth Capital in the US, reckons a 50-50 venture could be worth as much as £12billion, or £6billion to William Hill. 

The price tag of the US business is likely to be the key to negotiations for buying the whole of William Hill. 

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Activist investor Richard Bernstein, the brains behind the Crystal Amber fund, set tongues wagging last week when he raised his stake in the embattled North Sea oil and gas firm Hurricane Energy to nearly 11 per cent. 

Briefly worth more than £1billion in 2017, the AIM-listed company has seen its shares tank this year after its oilfields off the Shetland Islands suffered a series of downgrades. 

Bernstein tells me he believes the ‘doom scenario is overdone’ and thinks there may still be recoverable reserves worth far more than Hurricane’s current £55million market value. 

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All eyes this week will be on the AA’s remaining suitors, Warburg Pincus and Towerbrook, which have teamed up for a tilt at the roadside recovery firm as others pulled out. 

The duo only have until 5pm on Tuesday to make a bid – or walk away. 

Don’t be surprised if the AA asks the Takeover Panel for more time.

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Investors will be hoping that Greggs can avoid a half-baked trading update on Tuesday. 

The high street baker will reveal how it has recovered since its shops began to re­open and whether business has been as bad as the share price suggests. 

Another national lockdown would hurt.

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