As the weekend began, reports began piling in online about a potential merger between William Hill PLC and Amaya Inc. The reports were then confirmed to be true by both companies as a press release was issued informing the public that the boards of each company are discussing a possible merger.
Since February of this year, Amaya has been reviewing alternative strategies for the company while William Hill has been evaluating ways to increase the diversification by growing the international and digital business of the brand. A merger of the two companies would meet the strategic objectives of Amaya and Will Hill, creating an international leader when it comes to poker, sports betting and casino game play online.
While the confirmation of discussions of the merger have been made, it is in no way a done deal. However, the announcement did help both companies on the stock market. After the announcement was made, William Hill PLC saw a huge boost in London Trading. Shares of Will Hill rose as high as 6.5% to 313.6 pence which created a market value of $3.3 billion in US dollars. Amaya stock was also up 8.2% to C$23.21 which put the company at $2.6 billion value US dollars.
If the merger were to take place it would end a busy year of buyout potential for both companies. William Hill has been approached by other companies for a takeover, including 888 Holdings Plc and Rank Group Plc. Amaya has also been subject to buyout interest from companies in the gaming industry as well as private equity firms. Amaya has dealt with issues involving former CEO David Baazov in regards to insider trading charges as well as the company beginning to offer online services in the state of New Jersey via PokerStars also this year.
For now, the discussions have been confirmed and the online gaming industry will just have to wait and see if the two companies decide to merge and how operations will continue moving forward.
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