William Hill buoyed by merger talks with PokerStars owner

Shares in William Hill rose nearly 3 per cent yesterday to 302.8p after it confirmed that talks were under way with a Canadian group for a 'merger of equals', creating one of the world's biggest online gambling firms.

William Hill is in talks over a possible tie-up with Canadian online gambling group Amaya. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

The bookmaker, which was founded in 1934, said: “The potential merger would be consistent with the strategic objectives of both William Hill and Amaya and would create a clear international leader across online sports betting, poker and casino.”

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Amaya owns the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands and the proposed deal comes months after Mecca Bingo operator Rank Group pulled out of a joint bid with 888 for William Hill.

The gambling sector has seen growing consolidation in the past year, with Coral and Ladbrokes inking a £2 billion tie-up, for example.

Jason Holden, analyst at Liberum, said there was “a complementary logic” to the latest merger talks.