The Boards of The UK’s William Hill PLC and Canada’s Amaya Inc. confirm that they are in discussions that could lead to a $5.7 billion all share merger of equals.
The merger would be classified as a reverse takeover, with the smaller group William Hill, retail bookmakers with operations in Australia taking over the larger company, Amaya which runs PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker business and Full Tilt.
The companies said discussions were ongoing and there could be no certainty that an agreement would be reached.
Amaya has been undertaking a review of its strategic alternatives since February 2016. Over recent months, the Board of William Hill has been evaluating options to accelerate William Hill’s strategy of increasing diversification by growing its digital and international businesses.
The potential merger would create one of the world’s largest gambling companies across online sports betting, poker and casino.
“These discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty that an agreement will be reached, ” the companies said in a shared announcement on Stuarday.
William Hill is required to provide certain confirmations to ensure that there is sufficient information available to the public with regard to the potential reverse takeover in order to avoid a suspension of William Hill’s shares.
A deal would bring together two companies that have been in turmoil over the past year.
Financial Times reports that in August, William Hill rebuffed a £3 billion takeover approach from a consortium of Rank Group and 888 Holdings that would have created Britain’s largest gaming group. This was despite William Hill previously making attempts to buy both companies in the past.
David Baazov, CEO and co-founder of Amaya resigned all his positions at the company on a temporary basis due to battle charges of insider trading that he is contesting. Baazov has denied the charges and went on paid leave. He has since been replaced by Rafi Ashkenazi, but had remained on the board.