William Hill and Amaya Cancel Merger Discussions

William Hill and Amaya Cancel Merger Discussions

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Punters place bets at a William Hill outlet

UK-based bookmarker William Hill has cancelled possible merger negotiations with Canada-based Amaya.

Amaya is the world’s largest and most lucrative online poker operator. Both companies have dropped merger negotiations earlier than expected. William Hill is one of the most popular British gambling brands in Europe today. However, the company is struggling in a number of areas which prompted merger discussions with Amaya.

Was a Merger Really Necessary to Increase William Hill’s Online Sales?

William Hill believes that merging with Amaya will strengthen its online gaming presence and entice a variety of target audience. Amaya is the operator of the world’s most popular poker website, PokerStars, was seen as a potential partner.

However, shareholders from both companies have raised issues once a merger was finalised. The discussions showed that the negotiation would involve a merger of equals. The proposed deal was cancelled after William Hill’s leading investor announced that partnering with Amaya would be against the objective of its overall growth plan.

On the other hand, Amaya believed that staying as independent company will deliver more wins than losses to its shareholders. Amaya walked away from the negotiations after its shares plummeted at 8.3%.

Will William Hill Seek New Potential Partnerships?

William Hill used to be the premier gaming brand among punters in the UK. Arguably, it lost its momentum when CEO Ralph Topping decided to resign in 2014. James Henderson succeeded Topping but resigned since the board felt that Henderson wasn’t producing significant international business developments and online sales growth.

William Hill actually initiated an acquisition discussion with 888 Holdings last year. 888 Holdings own 888 Poker which is considered one of the world’s biggest online poker websites. 888 Holdings didn’t precede with the acquisition talks and merged with Rank Group instead. With this in tow, should William Hill assess its internal operations first before initiating merger talks?

It seems William Hill can bolster its online growth starting from within the company. Do you think William Hill should operate independently for now? Let us know in the comments.

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