William Hill in £4.5bn talks to merge with Canada's online gambling business Amaya
Betting firm William Hill is in talks with Canada's online gambling business Amaya to create a £4.5billion global gambling giant.
Confirming that talks are underway this weekend, William Hill said the deal would create a 'clear international leader' in online gaming.
It could happen within weeks and would be structured as a reverse takeover of William Hill.
The newly merged company would be expected to list on the London Stock Exchange. Private equity firms are also believed to be interested in Amaya, but the William Hill deal is in pole position.
Jump: William Hill said the deal would create a 'clear international leader' in online gaming
Sources close to the proposal claim merging the two groups would allow combined savings of 'well north' of £100million a year.
Montreal-based Amaya owns PokerStars, which it claims is the largest online poker cardroom in the world, and Full Tilt Poker gaming brands.
'This deal is a strong fit which compliments William Hill's existing strategy and Amaya's business.
'Amaya owns 70 per cent of the online poker market, with 100million registered international users, and William Hill is strong in casinos, betting shops and sports betting,' said a source.
It follows the collapse of a bid for William Hill in August from Rank Group and 888, which was rejected by William Hill.
This deal has been handled by William Hill's interim chief executive Philip Bowcock who took over in July after the departure of James Henderson, and Amaya's chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi. Amaya's former boss David Baazov, still a major shareholder, is being investigated by Canadian authorities over insider dealing allegations.
William Hill issued a profit warning earlier this year after the Cheltenham Festival proved a disaster for bookies.