Online gambling giant, bwinparty digital entertainment, looks set to be taken over after 888 Holdings confirmed it has put in a bid thought to be £1 billion. However, the Gibraltar-based company will have to fight it out with GVC Holdings and PokerStars’ owner Amaya Gaming who have teamed up to launch a rival bid.
888 confirmed on Monday that it has put in a bid for bwinparty and this saw the shares in the latter soar by more than 10% at one stage before setting 8.6% up at 108p. The size of the potential transaction, which will be a combination of cash and 888 shares, requires at least 59% of 888’s shareholders have to vote in favour of the takeover and it believed this has already been done.
You may recall that it was 888 who were targeted in a takeover bid by William Hill earlier this year, with the proposed £720 million takeover being rejected by a member of the Shaked family, which co-founded 888 and is a majority shareholder.
888 won’t have it all their own way because AIM-listed company GVC Holdings and Amaya Gaming have teamed up to launch a rival bid.
The plans currently being drawn up suggest GVC would own the majority of the company and would buy bwinparty outright and Amaya would then have the option to subsequently purchase the poker operations.
It is thought that GVC would put its own management team in this new company and will then restructure bwinparty’s assets over the next two years.
GVC is no stranger to joint takeover ventures having joined forces with William Hill to purchase Sportingbet. That deal saw William Hill acquire Sportingbet’s Spanish and Australian businesses and GVC took on assets in countries that are classified as being “grey markets,” riskier markets because regulations are not as clearly defined and an area that a large percentage of bwinparty’s revenue is generated.
GVC, 888 and bwinparty have each released statements to the stock exchange confirming that press speculation is indeed true, as they are bound to do under the laws of being a public limited company in the UK.
Interesting times are ahead.
What are your thoughts of the potential takeover? Is this a positive move for the online poker world? Let us know in the comments box below.