888 celebrates 'transformational' $1.4bn purchase of bwin.party

888 celebrates 'transformational' $1.4bn purchase of bwin.party

Friday, July 17, 2015 Totally Gaming
888's Brian Mattingley expects an "improved product offering" from the combined group

888 shares were up more than seven per cent this morning (Friday) after it reached a deal to buy bwin.party for $1.4bn (€1.29bn) and create a new superpower in the gaming industry.

Just days after bwin.party said that it was “working closely” with GVC Holdings over its 110p-per-share bid, it was revealed that a 104.09p bid from 888 had been accepted.

The deal – involving two companies that had combined turnover of in $1.12bn in 2014 - is expected to be completed at the start of 2016 and it is believed will deliver cost savings in the region of $70m a year by the end of the 2018 financial year.

“This is a transformational opportunity for 888 in the consolidating online gaming industry, which is expected to grow significantly over the coming years,” 888  executive chairman Brian Mattingley said. “The enlarged group will benefit from significantly enhanced scale, an improved product offering as well as significant cost and revenue synergies.

“It delivers a substantial premium to bwin.party shareholders whilst also giving them the opportunity to participate in this value creation opportunity. 888’s management have a well-established track record of delivering outperformance since 2011 and we look forward to working with our new colleagues to create a global leader."

Under the terms of the offer, bwin.party shareholders will receive 39.45p in cash and 0.404 shares in the newly-plumped 888. Bwin.party’s Liz Catchpole and Martin Weigold will join the 888 board as an independent non-executive director and a non-executive director respectively.

Bwin's chief executive Norbert Teufelberger, will not be joining the board of the new company but will provide it with consultancy services.

Bwin.party chairman Philip Yea added: "A year ago we set out to explore industry consolidation opportunities whilst working to improve our core business. We have made substantial progress on both counts and our announcement today marks the first step in a new phase in our short history.

“Drawing upon a wealth of experience accumulated over the past few years, our management team looks forward to working with new colleagues to realise the considerable potential that this business combination presents.”

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