888 still in running for bwin.party

888 still in running for bwin.party

Monday, July 13, 2015
The acquisition of bwin.party could be agreed by the end of this week

888 is still “neck and neck” with GVC Holdings as the battle to buy rival operator bwin.party nears its conclusion according to a report in newspaper The Sunday Times.

Last week, TotallyGaming.com reported that GVC had offered £900m (€1.3bn/$1.4bn) for bwin.party, with the latter saying that it was “working closely” with the potential buyer to finalise the bid.

However, while GVC and joint bidder Amaya appears to be the preferred option in what would be another huge acquisition in the gaming industry, 888, which admitted its interest in bwin.party in May, is still in the running in what could be the final week of the saga, according to a series of sources in The Sunday Times.   

The report said that 888 would meet bwin.party’s management and representatives this week and while unlikely to match GVC’s valuation of 110p per share, the company is likely to focus its efforts on detailing the synergies between the two businesses.

The report stated: “One banker described the discussions as ‘still a two-horse race . . . neck and neck’. The next seven days will be pivotal in the race to take control of the company, bankers said.”

While 888 was not available for comment today, a spokesperson for GVC has downplayed the challenge from its rival, telling newspaper City AM: “We have put forward a very compelling offer for bwin.party, and are pleased to have received the support of the bwin.party board.”

In its initial statement on bwin.party in May, 888 said: “The board believes that there is significant industrial logic in a combination of 888 and bwin.party, benefiting both companies and all shareholders and accordingly, has submitted a proposal regarding the acquisition of the entire issued and to be issued share capital of bwin.party for consideration comprising cash and 888 shares.”

Last week, bwin.party issued a Trading Update which said that revenue generated in the second quarter of the year was completely in line with expectations. In addition, revenue from sports betting was higher than initially predicted, despite sports gross win margins being below what could be considered normal levels.

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