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William Hill returns to growth as Caesars takeover completion nears

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William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) returned to revenue growth in the final quarter of 2020 thanks to strong performances from its sport betting business in the UK and US.

Higher sportsbook staking and helpful sporting results were key to sportsbook net revenue growth of 20%, said the FTSE 250 bookmaker, whose shareholders recently voted to approve a £2.9bn takeover by Caesars Entertainment Inc (NASDAQ:CZR).

Group net revenue in the fourth quarter was up 9% on the previous year, a reversal of the 9% fall in the third quarter.

This meant for 2020 as a whole, total group net revenue fell 16% to £1.3bn, reflecting a 30% decline for UK betting shops amid the various lockdowns, partly offset by 5% online revenue growth in the UK and 12% from overseas business.

US full-year net revenue increased 32%, driven by strong online growth as casinos remained fully or partly closed for long periods and major US sports operated under different schedules.

William Hill US reported 121% net revenue growth in the fourth quarter after going live in five new states and launching mobile in five states.

Caesars expects to complete the takeover early in the second quarter of 2021, but possibly as early as March.

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