Shareholders could scupper Hills merger

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

PICTURE: David Dew Shareholders could scupper Hills merger 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.

According to the Financial Times 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 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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