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888 Holdings Makes a Takeover Bid for bwin.party

- May 18, 2015 By Oliver Young -

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888 Holdings now joins GVC Holdings in the battle for bwin.party

After rumors in the media this past weekend, British based gambling operator 888 Holdings confirmed that they made a bit to acquire Bwin Party Digital Entertainment, a rival virtual gambling group. The company published a press release on Monday, May 18, 2015 confirming their interest in the group. 888 Holdings now joined GVC Holdings in the battle for bwin.party.

A Business worth More Than £1 Billion

In the press release, 888 says that their merge with the bwin.party group would be a logical move. Reports say that if the two companies indeed merge, the worth of the business entity would be worth more than £1 billion.

“There is a significant industrial logic that the merge of 888 and bwin.party would be beneficial for both companies and shareholders,” reads the announcement of 888. “The Board believes in this and therefore, submitted a proposal to acquire the share capital of this gambling group comprising of hard cash and 888 shares.”

Because of the size of the transaction, the approval of the 888 shareholders was required. They represent about 59 percent of the share capital of 888 and they all voted in favor of this transaction. The Israeli shareholders of 888 that represent a majority are supportive.

The announcement ends that the company’s takeover bid for bwin.party might not result in a transaction after all and further updates will be provided in the near future.

888 Holdings was to be bought by the William Hill gambling group, however, the two companies couldn’t reach an agreement, particularly over the price of the deal. The founders of 888 believed that the price of 200p per share was very low. The company, however, approves the takeover bid of bwin.party despite the fact that it has been falling after the failed deal with William Hill.

In turn, a 888 Bwin deal could be the way to go for the company. Its market cap is approximately £600 million, lower than that of bwin’s £888 million. The other bidder, GVC Holdings, is valued at approximately £280 million.

Who Will Acquire bwin.party?

The online gambling group bwin.party was formed after this Australian group merged with PartyGaming in 2011. However, last year, the revenue of the company dropped 6 percent in its third consecutive year of poor performance even though it was re-organized and costs were cut. The reasons for the revenue drop are attributed to the blocking of the gambling sites in Greece and due to the poor poker market.

As a result, bwin.party was put up for sale in November 2014. The company confirmed that several gambling operators are interested in its purchase. It is now looking at the submitted proposals and will make further announcement soon.

Industry analysts believe that the most luckily way to go is a merger between bwin.party and 888 Holdings. With this deal bwin will be able to reduce its costs to licensing in several regulated markets and costs related to advertizing. Additionally, 888 would introduce its products and services to other markets thanks to the larger sports betting business of bwin.party.

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