William Hill’s GBP 4.5 billion merger talks with Canada’s Amaya online gambling group were abandoned Tuesday in an announcement by the company that it had decided to walk away from the negotiating table following consultation with major shareholders.
Those consultations will almost certainly have been with major stakeholder Parvus Asset Management, which had earlier launched strong and very public opposition to the proposed deal, and was later supported in its criticism by former Will Hill CEO Ralph Topping (see previous reports).
In an open letter condemning the proposed merger, Parvus noted among other criticism that such an arrangement had “limited strategic logic and would destroy shareholder value”.
In a statement Tuesday morning William Hill management said:
“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.”
Earlier this year Will Hill rejected a merger approach by 888 Holdings and Rank Group.
Former Amaya CEO David Baazov, who has reportedly assembled a group of investors with a view to acquiring Amaya, has already indicated that he is still interested in negotiating a deal.