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William Hill and Amaya in the Midst of Merger Talks

UK-based sports betting operator, William Hill, and Canadian owner of the PokerStars brand, Amaya, are currently negotiating a potential merger of the two companies.

The board of directors of the two companies are suggesting a “potential all share merger of equals”. On Friday, a statement released by the companies said that the board of William Hill had been in the process of examining ways to speed up their diversification strategy in order to reverse the decline in financial results they recorded recently and that Amaya has been reviewing its strategic alternatives.

According to the statement, a merger would be consistent with strategic objectives of both companies, combining the retail and online sports betting businesses from William Hill with the strong poker product from Amaya. The statement also made indicated that they believe that a merger of their businesses would “create a clear international leader across online sports betting, poker and casino.”

These discussions come after a failed takeover bid of William Hill by 888 and Rank Group in July. The talks failed after William Hill said that the offer made was a substantial undervaluation of its business.

A deal between the businesses would not be subject to the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers as it would be considered a reverse takeover under the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Listing Rules.

A study by Morgan Stanley suggests that a merger between William Hill and Amaya would result in the largest global online operator based on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and the second largest operator based on revenue.

Reports have suggested that a combined operation would be worth approximately €5 billion, although the statement released by the companies has warned that “these discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty that an agreement will be reached.”

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