Pinsent Masons, DLA Piper, Ashurst and Bird & Bird have all missed out on William Hill’s latest UK adviser panel, with Linklaters and Addleshaw Goddard the only firms to retain their places on the FTSE 250 bookmaker’s slimmed-down roster.
Slaughter and May, Eversheds Sutherland and Wiggin each won new spots on the five-firm panel following a review. Firms were invited to pitch for places around Easter.
Director of group legal at William Hill, Michael Leadbeater (pictured) said the new panel ‘reflects the continuing transformation of the William Hill business, with a focus on consolidating the number of external providers and driving the best possible pricing proposition. The commercial arrangements between William Hill and each member of the revised panel create genuine alignment between the parties to ensure the relationships maximise value for both parties.’
The new panel will run for the next three years ‘at least’, according to Leadbeater. ‘Each of the firms brings a unique proposition, yet have also been selected to be highly complementary to one another in order to meet the developing needs of the group,’ he added.
William Hill turned to panel Slaughter and May last year as the company rejected a £3.6bn takeover bid from Rank Group and 888 Holdings. Allen & Overy advised 888 Holdings while Rank Group instructed Norton Rose Fulbright.
In October, the bookmaker explored merger options with Canadian online gaming company Amaya, which would have created a business worth around £4.5bn. The discussions were later shelved. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher advised William Hill that time, while Slaughter and May was instructed on financing aspects of the deal.
Former William Hill panel member Ashurst advised Toronto-based Amaya on UK aspects of the deal with both Blake, Cassels & Graydon and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt providing advice on Canadian aspects.