[toc]William Hill and Amaya have agreed to remain independent operators, abandoning discussion of a potential £5 billion merger between the two online gambling giants.
Amaya, the parent company of PokerStars, and UK bookmaker William Hill, had entered discussions of a merger of equals last week. The companies released a joint statement confirming rumours of the merger.
However, both companies have now each announced that the merger would not be in their best interests, and that the merger is off the table.
This will doubtless be a relief to Parvus Asset Management, the largest shareholder of William Hill, who penned an open letter stating that the merger had “limited strategic logic” and would “destroy shareholder value.”
The company statements
Amaya’s chairman Divyesh Gadhia said that Amaya and its financial advisers had “evaluated a wide range of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value and have concluded that remaining an independent company is in the best interest of Amaya’s shareholders at this time.”
He continued to say that Amaya’s board of directors have “full faith in Amaya’s management to execute on its strategy and objectives.”
William Hill released a simultaneous statement, saying that “after canvassing views from a number of William Hill’s major shareholders, the board has decided that it will not pursue discussions with Amaya.”
“Accordingly, the board has informed Amaya that it is withdrawing from discussions and wishes Amaya well for the future.”
William Hill is one of the UK’s oldest gambling companies and the most successful in the country, with worldwide net revenues of over £1.5 billion in 2015 and 16,000 employees in the UK, Ireland and Gibraltar.
Baazov still interested in Amaya
Amaya’s former CEO and chairman David Baazov is reported to still be interested in acquiring Amaya as a private company.
He has since resigned his position at Amaya after being accused of insider trading in relation to the company’s $4.9 billion acquisition of the Rational Group, the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt as well as several other gambling ventures.
Baazov has denied all allegations against him.
Currently, PokerStars enjoys a status as the world’s largest online poker site by a huge margin, claiming a market share of over two-thirds of the online poker world.