Amaya and William Hill end merger talks

Amaya and William Hill end merger talksWilliam Hill and Amaya have announced that they have opted to conclude talks over a potential merger.

Last week, the two companies confirmed that they had opened discussions over a deal that could create a combined operation worth approximately £5.7 billion (€7 billion/€6.3 billion).

However, William Hill said that after “canvassing views” from a number of its key shareholders, the bookmaker’s board has decided to not pursue discussions and has informed Amaya that it will be withdrawing from the talks.

The move comes after Parvus Asset Management, the largest single shareholder in William Hill, said it would oppose any merger with Amaya.

In a statement, William Hill wished Amaya well for the future, adding that it will now continue to focus on the core priorities set out by interim chief executive, Philip Bowcock.

“Trading has continued to be positive in the second half of the year with work focused on improving online performance across mobile gaming and key customer journeys,” the statement said.

“The board continues to expect operating profit for 2016 to be at the top end of the previously guided £260 million to £280 million range.”

William Hill also announced that it will now recommence its share buy-back programme, having suspended the initiative since July 23, around the time that the Daily Telegraph newspaper said initial talks over the merger began.

Amaya issued a statement of its own in response to the conclusion of the talks, also wishing William Hill and its shareholders the best for the future.

Divyesh Gadhia, chairman of Amaya, said: “Amaya is a strong and growing company with experienced management and a proven strategy to deliver profitable growth and shareholder value.

“Together with our financial advisors, we evaluated a wide range of strategic alternatives to maximise shareholder value and have concluded that remaining an independent company is in the best interest of Amaya’s shareholders at this time.

“The board has full faith in Amaya’s management to execute on its strategy and objectives.”

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