Friday 14 October 2016 12:53 pm

Former William Hill boss Ralph Topping slams plans to merge with Canada-based gambling group Amaya

Former William Hill chief executive has called on the bookmaker's current management staff to axe plans to conduct a £4.5bn merger with Canadian online betting giant Amaya. 

Ralph Topping, who led the company for eight years before departing in 2014, said he "fully support[s]" majority shareholder Parvus Asset Management, which yesterday slammed a possible deal, saying it has "limited strategic logic and would destroy shareholder value".

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"When this deal was announced, I was left scratching my head. Both [Amaya and William Hill] have a lot to sort out in their own business. I'm very anxious on the future of William Hill," Topping told the Financial Times.

He said the board should call off the talks and that there would be "huge ramifications" on the future of its chairman Gareth Davis and interim chief exec Philip Bowcock, who have broached discussions with the Canada-based group. 

William Hill announced last week it had been in negotiations with Amaya for several months, pre-dating the three-way tie-up proposed over the summer by Rank Group and 888 Holdings. Its shares have risen on the back of the talks.

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It said a deal with PokerStars website operator Amaya will create an "international leader across online sports betting, poker and casino games". 

Will Hill's management board summarily rejected the first and later a boosted offer, causing the online gambling groups to abandon their bid within weeks.