AMAYA COMMENTS ON ABANDONED TALKS WITH WILLIAM HILL PLC (Update)
Canadian group says that its best course for shareholders is to remain an independent, publicly traded corporation.
Commenting on Tuesdays announcement that William Hill has walked away from talks regarding a possible merger, Amaya chairman Divyesh Gadhia issued a statement this morning, saying that following an extensive review his board has concluded that the best course for delivering long-term shareholder value is for Amaya to remain an independent, publicly-listed corporation.
“Together with our financial advisers, we evaluated a wide range of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value and have concluded that remaining an independent company is in the best interest of Amaya’s shareholders at this time,” Gadhia said.
“Amaya is a strong and growing company with experienced management and a proven strategy to deliver profitable growth and shareholder value," he added.
Amaya said it had been informed by its former chief executive, David Baazov, that he remained interested in buying the company but that the firm had not received an offer capable of resulting in a transaction.
The Canadian gambling group said in February it had received a non-binding proposal from Baazov to take the company private, but the formal bid never came.
Responding to previous criticism from major Will Hill shareholder Parvus Asset Management that its core business of online poker was the least attractive segment in online gambling, Amaya commented:
"It is simply not true to say that poker is a mature or declining market based upon certain public data which under-reports the size and growth of the poker market."
Amaya also disputed claims that it was difficult to cross-sell other gaming products to poker players, saying:
"In fact, Amaya has seen success in cross-selling its online casino and sports betting products while increasing the lifetime values of cross-sold customers.
"Claims that our cash conversion of EBITDA is around 39 percent is factually incorrect as it included the change in player balances."
The end of the Amaya negotiation leaves William Hill again adrift in an industry where major consolidation is taking place, observers have noted, pointing to the recent mergers of Paddy Power-Betfair and the imminent Ladbrokes-Coral merge.
Betting-company takeovers have totaled about $14 billion in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg business news, more than in the previous three years combined.