Saturday July 18,2015 : 888 OUTLINES PLANS FOR BWIN.PARTY ACQUISITION
Bigger is better, say 888 execs.
Bigger is better was the message 888 Holdings execs gave to media and analysts following the announcement that the company's GBP 898 million offer to buy a controlling interest in Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment had been accepted
CEO Brian Mattingley told Reuters that size and res ources enabled companies to better exploit opportunities and weather business storms, whilst chief operating officer Itai Freiberger said that there was minimal overlap in the core activities of the two groups, and outlined some of 888's possible plans for the future.
Freiberger told analysts that Bwin's sports betting business and experience would provide more impetus and create savings for 888's own nascent sports betting enterprise, which currently partners with Kambi Sports Solutions. That business-to-business relationship may ultimately be discontinued, but in a measured and controlled manner, he suggested.
Despite the technological and brand differences, the deal should also create a poker powerhouse, with 888's successful record in the segment and Bwin.Party's long history and profile in the vertical through PartyPoker. Freiberger indicated there are no immediate plans to tinker with existing and effective brands.
The long term strategy for Bwin's b2b gaming technology business will be dependent on how successful the operation continues to be. It will be rebranded Studios, with a view to ultimately listing the company as a successful and thriving enterprise.
Both Bwin.Party and 888 have a presence in the important US market, and that will be fully leveraged under 888 control.
The current Bwin.Party CEO, Norbert Teufelberger, will reportedly step down, but he will be retained on a consultancy basis once the deal has been completed.
888's statement on the acquisition revealed that combined revenue of the two groups last year would have been about $1.1 billion, and that the agreement will deliver significant annual cost savings of around $70 million by end-2018.
The deal should boost 888’s earnings in the first year after completion, excluding one-time costs, the company said.
Most analysts appear to agree, with a consensus that the combined group is likely to be highly cash generative, and good for shareholders.
Bwin.Party shareholders will own about 48.9 percent of the merged entity.