UPDATE 4-William Hill, Amaya drop short-lived gambling merger talks

Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:12pm EDT
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* Talks abandoned less than two weeks after announcement

* Sector consolidating as more gamblers go online

* European rivals have already joined forces

* Amaya FY revenue forecast below market expectations

* Amaya shares drop 8.3 percent (Adds share move, Amaya spokesman comment)

By Kate Holton and Simon Jessop

LONDON/TORONTO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - William Hill and Canadian online gambling company Amaya Inc have abandoned merger talks, leaving the British bookmaker struggling to find a partner in a fast consolidating industry.

Amaya, operator of the PokerStars website, and William Hill, one of the best-known British gambling brands, said earlier this month they were in talks about a merger of equals but the deal was thrown into doubt days later when a leading investor in William Hill said it would oppose the plan.

The Canadian company said it had decided it could best deliver shareholder value by remaining an independent company, while William Hill said it decided to walk away after canvassing its biggest investors. Amaya shares tumbled 8.3 percent.   Continued...