William Hill shares lift more than six per cent in morning trading as FTSE 250 bookie bets on merger talks with Canada's Amaya

Francesca Washtell
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William Hill shares leaped this morning as investors were buoyed by the tie-up news (Source: Getty)

Shares in William Hill have lifted more than six per cent this morning as the market reacted to weekend news that the bookmaker is in talks with Canadian online gambling group Amaya.

The companies are in early-stage talks for an all-share merger, which would create a £5bn "international leader across online sports betting, poker and casino", William Hill said in a statement on Saturday.

The tie-up between the bookie and the North American PokerStarts website operator would deliver significant annual cost synergies, likely higher than Ladbrokes and Gala Coral's £65m.

Read more: William Hill faces protests tomorrow over retail restructuring plan

Stock in FTSE 250-listed William Hill are up more than six per cent to 312.6p at the time of writing.

William Hill William Hill | mobile image

Over the summer, Will Hill rejected a three-way takeover offer from UK-listed online gambling groups 888 Holdings and Rank Group.

The bookie's board said the merger significantly undervalued the group, despite 888 and Rank later beefing up their original £3.6bn offer.

Read more: 888 Holdings rules out Rank tie-up and flies on soaring profit growth

It is understood William Hill's interim chief exec Philip Bowcock views the tie-up as complementary, seeing the opportunity to combine the company’s sports book with Amaya’s poker customers.

William Hill has struggled with its online operations in the last couple of years, warning of a £25m fall in online profits in March and its former chief exec James Henderson announcing he would resign in July after failing to turn around its e-operations.

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