Shareholders could scupper Hills merger

Hills

One of William Hill’s major shareholders is against the proposed merger

  PICTURE: David Dew  

 By Bill Barber 9:11AM 14 OCT 2016 

WILLIAM HILL’S plans to merge with Canadian gaming firm Amaya have been dealt a major blow after the bookmaker’s biggest shareholder voiced their opposition to the £5 billion deal.

Hedge fund Parvus Asset Management said in a letter to the William Hill board that there was “limited strategic logic” to the move and advised them to look at other options, including a sale.

Parvus co-founders Mads Gensmann and Edoardo Mercadante, wrote: “We strongly encourage that the board and management stops wasting valuable time and shareholder resources pursuing this value-destroying deal.

“Instead, the board and management must focus on maximising value for William Hill owners, rather than Amaya shareholders, by considering all alternative options available, including a sale of William Hill.”

William Hill rebuffed a takeover bid from Rank Group and 888 Holdings during the summer.

News of a “merger of equals” between William Hill and Amaya, the owner of the PokerStars brand, emerged last week.

In response to the letter William Hill were quoted in the Financial Times as saying: “Given the strategic fit, diversification and potential synergies we have a responsibility to all our shareholders to fully assess this. However, it is premature for us to draw conclusions whilst this work is ongoing.

“The board would not come forward with a transaction unless it was satisfied that it was in the interests of all shareholders.”

 
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