William Hill Could be Sold While Lottery Winner Tries to Sue Camelot

William Hill could be put up for sale later this year if its biggest shareholder, Parvus Asset Management, get its way.

Parvus Asset Management wants to sell William Hill.

William Hill could be put up for sale in 2017 following a drop in share price and a push from Parvus Asset Management. (Image: BBC.co.uk/Press Association)

Despite a series of acquisitions and mergers taking place around it, William Hill has resisted the urge to partner up with another iGaming operator in 2016.

Almost an act of defiance against the current movement of the market, William Hill appears to have taken the opinion that it should be the main player in any deal that goes down.

Evidence of this came to light in the summer of 2016 when talks of a deal between the Rank Group, 888 and William Hill hit the headlines.

According to reports in August, a joint bid from Rank and 888 would have been worth £3.4 billion had William Hill accepted a three-way partnership.

However, after analysing the terms and the final price, members of the William Hill board dismissed the offer as too low and “highly opportunistic.”

William Hill Maintains a Show of Strength

Later in 2016, William Hill almost merged with Canada’s Amaya in deal reported to be worth around £4.6 billion. But, after discussing the deal throughout September, William Hill eventually called it off in October when Parvus Asset Management said it was a bid based on “risk, debt and hope.”

With few avenues left and the close of 2016 dawning, William Hill went quiet. However, according to sources in the City, Parvus Asset Management is keen to secure some sort of deal. Being the company’s largest shareholder (14 percent stake) naturally gives the hedge fund a lot of say in the matter.

According to a report from City AM, the financial investor believes that “customer friendly” results (i.e. customers won a lot of money) and a potential crackdown on FOBTs mean a merger is necessary.

Although Will Hill’s chief executive Philip Bowcock has played up the operator’s recent run of results, share prices dropped by more than 5 percent at the end of January.

With Parvus Asset Management fearing this downswing could continue, the chances are that it will continue to pressure William Hill’s executives to negotiate a deal.

What this means in the short-term is unclear as William Hill would either have to find fresh operators to do a deal with or revisit previously failed negotiations. In the long-term, however, it looks like William Hill will eventually merge like many of its peers have already done.

Lottery Winner Wishes She Wasn’t Rich

In other UK betting news this week, the youngest ever lottery winner has taken out a lawsuit against Camelot. Despite winning £1 million on the EuroMillions at the age of 17, Jane Park is now taking legal action against the lottery operator for ruining her life.

Park hit the headline 2013 when she scooped the EuroMillions jackpot but now, almost four years on, she claims the pressure from of having that much money at such as young age has ruined her life.

“I thought it would make it 10 times better but it’s made it 10 times worse. I wish I had no money most days. I say to myself, my life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won,” Park told the Sunday People.

Because of her ordeal, Park believes the minimum age to play the lottery should be raised from 16 to 18.

In response, Camelot confirmed that it had provided Park with financial advice and assistance before she received her money. Moreover, it explained that the government sets the legal gambling age and it simply supplies the games.

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