William Hill’s mooted reverse takeover of Amaya would create an industry leading gaming business which could achieve cost savings of around £100m according to analysts, but beyond that there is little to get excited about.
The two companies have not gone into detail about any potential transaction and they may be sitting on the mother of all masterplans, but for the most part the initial reaction to the merger talks has been apathetic.
Some say there are obvious benefits in allying the William Hill brand, arguably the UK’s biggest and most successful gambling brand, with that of PokerStars. It will create a formidable new industry giant, aiding William Hill in expanding its geographic reach. There are also those who see cross-selling opportunities between the two businesses.
“Amaya has c.100m registered accounts, mostly poker players which suggest significant opportunities to cross sell William Hill’s casino and sports product,” notes Richard Stuber of Numis.
He cautions, however: “Whether it will be able to is a moot point, as anecdotally, poker players have tended to limit themselves to a single product.”
On the whole, the deal just does not sit right. This could be down to mega-merger exhaustion in the industry – we’ve seen it all in recent years – or it could be the bitter memory of the bwin.party merger.
The boards of William Hill and Amaya have described the potential marriage as a “merger of equals”. Witnesses to the bwin.party car crash see it as two businesses looking for direction in one another.