Two's company, three's not necessarily good for us, says William Hill in response to a push by its peers, 888 and Rank for a three-way deal to create a new UK gambling powerhouse. Laura Frykberg reports. British bookmaker William Hill says it's not sure a three-way merger with 888 Holdings and Rank Group is a sure bet. Laura Frykberg reports.
It's a risky business, but William Hill needs a sure bet. The British bookmaker's been asked by online gambling company, 888, and casino operator, Rank, to form a gambling giant. A high stakes move for a company who just fired its Chief Executive over stagnating sales online. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, DARREN SINDEN, SAYING: "When you look at the three individual companies they're all pretty disparate businesses, why do the online players really want the William Hill betting shops? I think it will be up to the bidders to outline where there's synergies and where they think the cost saving measures can come." The deal would be the third consolidation of industry players in the past year. It would be the first major three-way merger though. And the odds are that, would concern rival companies. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, DARREN SINDEN, SAYING: "It's also going to potentially catch the eye of the competition authorities I would have thought. So even if William Hill were to enter into talks with them, it's not that clear why that would make sense and whether a deal could be put together and finalised." The bid has boosted the bookmaker's stocks. Early on Monday they jumped 9.4 percent. A winning hand for shareholders, for the moment at least.