It was only recently announced that William Hill are in talks with Amaya regarding a potential merger. While talks are reported to be an early stage, and there are no guarantees of any deal being agreed, one William Hill investor has already written a letter to the board that declares they will oppose any possible merger.
The investor is known as Parvus Asset Management, they are a hedge fund company with a 14% stake in the William Hill business. In their letter, they state that they have stood by the company through difficult times and a decreasing share price, but they cannot accept any kind of deal with Amaya on the grounds that they believe it could damage the William Hill brand as well as shareholder value.
Sir Chris Hohn of the Children’s Investment Fund, is also the man behind Parvus Asset Management who is also the biggest shareholder in William Hill. They have already branded talks with Amaya as a ‘waste of time’ that could damage the William Hill brand.
It is believed that William Hill are interested in a merge with Amaya as it could potentially strengthen their presence among the international market, particularly within online poker. Amaya have proven success in the online poker business, especially with the brand PokerStars and William Hill will hoping they can use the Amaya formula for their own success. Should any merger happen, the new company would be the largest gambling enterprise in the world, but William Hill have said they won’t enter into any transaction without the backing of all shareholders.
William Hill has faced still competition in a very crowded marketplace, especially with the Ladbrokes and Coral merger set to go through and overtake them as the biggest UK operator. They have also previously turned down advances from 888 and Rank Group as they didn’t find the deal attractive enough. While it seems William Hill might deem an Amaya deal to be attractive, they may be forced to give it up to appease shareholders.