Business

William Hill shares rise as investor rejects merger plan

William Hill sign Image copyright PA

Shares in William Hill have risen after the betting company's largest shareholder said it would oppose any merger deal with Canada's Amaya.

Last weekend William Hill said it was in talks to merge with Amaya, which owns poker websites Full Tilt and PokerStars, in a potential £4.5bn deal.

But Parvus Asset Management said the merger had "limited strategic logic" and would "destroy shareholder value".

Shares in William Hill - a FTSE 250 member - closed up 5% at 314.1p.

Parvus said the betting firm should consider other all options to maximise shareholder returns, including a possible sale.

Ralph Topping, who stepped down in 2014 after eight years as chief executive of William Hill, said he "fully supported" Parvus.

"When this deal was announced I was left scratching my head," he told the Financial Times. 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."

Also on the FTSE 250, shares in Man Group jumped 13.7% after the world's biggest listed hedge fund said it was buying investment manager Aalto, which manages property assets worth $1.7bn.

Man Group also reported a 6% rise in the value of funds under management during the three months to September and said it planned a $100m share buyback.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 35.81 points to 7,013.55. Tesco was the biggest riser, up 4.41% to 203.7p. The supermarket said on Thursday night that it had resolved its pricing row with supplier Unilever. Shares in Unilever were down 0.5%.

On the currency markets, the pound was trading at $1.2185, down 0.56%, against the dollar.

Against the euro it was flat at €1.1083.

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