Over the past several months, we have heard everything from rumors to press releases about talks involving a potential merger between the Amaya Gaming Group and William Hill. These two entities combining would result in the largest online gambling company in the world. However, talks have come to a halt after William Hill's shareholders showed little interest.
Huge Problems on Both Sides
To understand the nature of the situation, you first have to understand that both of these companies have seen some pretty bad circumstances over the past year. William Hill has had to fight off takeover attempts from 888 and the Rank Group this year, and Amaya has been hit with tons of controversy after their previous CEO David Baazov stepped down from accusations and charges of insider trading, coming after its big purchase of the Rational Group (PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker), which is the move that made it large enough to entertain a conversation with William Hill in the first place.
To make that even more complicated, Baazov has vowed to take Amaya back via the private route, and William Hill is looking for their own new CEO after James Henderson was booted out of the role after having barely served two years in the spot. Neither side is on steady ground, and it doesn't seem like shareholders want to keep rocking the boat until they see which direction the waves are going.
The Current State of the Situation
William Hill made a statement about a significant portion of its shareholders not being interested, and Amaya replied with their own face-saving message about how they determined it was also not in their best interests. The fact of the matter is that Amaya's stock almost fell a solid 7 percent after the news broke, but William Hill's stayed about the same. This shows that the Amaya shareholders were a bit more keen on the deal than they're letting on.
It's been a crazy few years for mergers in the industry. In 2014 and 2015, we saw more major business deals and mergers than we'd seen for the several years before that, and we expect to see more in the future. Amaya with William Hill just won't be one of them.
Sam Chambers and David Hellier, William Hill Abandons Amaya Merger Talks on Investor Dissent bloomberg.com, October 18, 2016
Thomas Mulier, William Hill and Amaya Abandon £4.6bn Mega-merger After Shareholder Revolt independent.co,uk, October 18, 2016