UK's biggest bookmaker William Hill in talks with Canadian rival to create £4.7bn gambling behemoth

Gambling giant William Hill confirmed today that it is talks with a Canadian online gambling company to merge.

William Hill's current share price values it at £2.7billion and a merger with Amaya it would create a Transatlantic gambling behemoth worth something like £4.7billion.

Britain's biggest high street bookmaker recently rejected a tie-up with UK counterparts Rank Group and 888 Holdings after its board said a planned £3.6billion three-way merger substantially undervalued the firm. 

The firm said in a statement that a tie-up would 'create a clear international leader across online sports betting, poker and casino'.

'These discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty that an agreement will be reached.'

Regulators cleared the way in July for a proposed £2.3billion merger between William Hill rivals Ladbrokes and Coral.

A merged company would overtake William Hill to become Britain's biggest bookmaker by number of shops.

William Hill employs around 16,000 people and is listed on the FTSE 250.

Speculation continues to circulate that private equity giant CVC Partners, the owner of UK-based online betting company Skybet, is considering launching its own bid for the 82-year-old company. 

William Hill chairman Gareth Davis is also occupied finding a permanent replacement for former chief executive James Henderson, who was ousted last month after two years at the helm and 31 years at the company.  

Talk of a ban on TV advertising hit gambling shares this week.

The Government is rumoured to be planning a crackdown on the betting industry amid fears a growing number of children see gambling as normal because of adverts – especially during football matches.


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