Canada's Amaya and Britain's William Hill end merger talks

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 18, 2016 13:03 hrs

LONDON (Reuters) - Merger talks between Canadian online gambling company Amaya Inc and British bookmaker William Hill have ended after the two firms concluded they would be stronger on their own.

Amaya, operator of online gambling website PokerStars, and William Hill announced earlier this month that they were in talks to combine in a merger of equals but the deal was thrown into doubt days later when a leading investor in the British bookmaker said it would oppose any combination.

The Canadian company said it had decided it could best deliver shareholder value by remaining an independent company, while William Hill said it had decided to walk away after canvassing its biggest investors.

The merger talks mark the latest failed deal for William Hill after it rejected a takeover approach from online rival 888 and casinos and bingo halls operator Rank Group in August.

William Hill said trading had continued to be positive in the second half of the year and it expects operating profit for 2016 to be at the top end of the previously guided range of 260 million pounds ($323 million) to 280 million pounds.

Amaya said it had been informed by its former chief executive, David Baazov, that he continued to be interested in acquiring all of the outstanding shares of Amaya, but that the firm had not received an offer capable of resulting in a transaction.

Amaya said in February it had received a non-binding proposal from Baazov to take the company private, but the formal bid never came.

($1 = 0.8042 pounds)

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Costas Pitas and Sarah Young)

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