It’s some time since talks broke down of a potential merger between William Hill, 888 and the Rank Group, but now it seems that William Hill may have their sights set on a bigger target. The British high street bookmakers have revealed that they are in talks with the Canadian gambling company Amaya about a potential equal merger. Talks are believed to be at an early stage but are also understood to be promising.
William Hill is currently the biggest UK gambling company with over 16,000 employees and a position on the FTSE 250. The Amaya Gaming Group is an online gambling company who are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They are the owners of PokerStars, the largest online poker site in the world and have an estimated value of over $4 billion. A merger of this scale is unprecedented and, should it happen, would see the creation of a clear international leader of the gambling industry.
There is speculation that this deal could be in response to the Ladbrokes Coral merger. The Ladbrokes Coral Group would overtake William Hill as the UK’s number one gambling operator, so a merger between William Hill and Amaya could be the only way for them to leapfrog Ladbrokes Coral once again.
On paper, the merger makes sense for both companies as they know they are in an ever growing industry that could be worth well over $50 billion by the end of 2017. Both William Hill and Amaya are both believed to have been suffering difficulties in recent years. There has been a slow and steady decline in William Hill’s traditional bookmaking business while Amaya has also seen a decline in their fortunes ever since they acquired PokerStars and FullTiltPoker.com. A merger between the two could well be a marriage of convenience and see them turn their recent form around.