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888 Acquires Bwin.Party
Friday July 17,2015 : 888 HOLDINGS EDGES OUT G.V.C. IN BWIN.PARTY DEAL
Late offer ups the ante to GBP 898 million.
The sale of online gambling group Bwin.Party took a dramatic turn this week when 888 Holdings apparently outbid rival GVC-Amaya in a late approach to acquire Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.
Reuters reported Friday that 888 has clinched the deal, offering 104.09p per share in cash and stock, valuing the deal at about GBP 898 million. The offer is at a 1.2 percent premium to Bwin.party's close on Thursday and consists of 39.45 pence in cash and 0.404 new 888 shares for each Bwin.party share.
Earlier this week the Financial Times reported that 888 had become involved in the battle to acquire Bwin.Party and was close to securing a deal after competing with the GVC-Amaya alliance.
The usually reliable business publication said that activist investor and hedge fund operator Jason Ader was heavily involved in the negotiations as a 6 percent owner of Bwin.Party.
Company confirmations on the acquisition are currently awaited.
UPDATE: 888 has now confirmed the deal, with CEO Brian Mattingley commenting:
"This is a transformational opportunity for 888 in the consolidating online gaming industry, which is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. 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."
Philip Yea, chairman of Bwin.Party, said:
"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.
"Bringing our two groups together will generate substantial financial synergies for the benefit of both sets of shareholders and create a strong player with the breadth of product, brands and geographic coverage to grow faster than either business would be able to achieve stand-alone. 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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