The battle to buy Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc moved a step closer to resolution as the online gambling company said it will work towards securing a
906.5 million-pound ($1.4 billion) bid from GVC Holdings Plc.
GVC, the Isle of Man-based company which has teamed up with Amaya Gaming Group Inc. of Canada, said Thursday it’s made a proposal to acquire Bwin.party for 110 pence in cash and stock, countering an overture by competitor 888 Holdings Plc.
The tussle is part of a series of deals in the online gaming industry as companies seek to dominate the market. Amaya last year bought PokerStars for $4.9 billion, while GVC teamed with William Hill Plc to take over Sportingbet Plc in 2013. Bwin.party Chief Executive Officer Norbert Teufelberger has been considering a sale since at least November, when the company said it was in early talks with several parties.
“It seems that Bwin.party’s tenure as a listed company is one step closer to ending,” David Jennings, an analyst at Davy Research, said in a note. “The key remaining question now is whether this news will prompt any rival bids.”
The bid price is 11 percent above Bwin.party’s Wednesday closing price of 99.1 pence. The shares rose 2.4 percent to
101.5 pence as of 9:16 a.m. in London.
Brands owned by Bwin.party include Partypoker, Partycasino and FoxyBingo, and have also attracted the interest of 888. Gibraltar-based 888 said last month that its proposal to buy Bwin.party includes cash and shares, without giving a price. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on GVC’s proposal.
Bwin.party said it will work with GVC so that the bidder can finalize the offer in the coming days. There’s no guarantee there will be a formal announcement of a transaction, it said.
GVC said May 15 it had proposed buying Bwin.party, and four days later it said Amaya, based in Point-Claire, Quebec, would help finance the bid.
“Based on our experience with the successful Sportingbet acquisition and restructuring, we believe that the potential combination of GVC and bwin.party would result in substantial financial and operating synergies and represent an excellent opportunity for both GVC and bwin.party shareholders,” GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander said in a statement.
Also Thursday, Bwin.party said gaming revenue in the three months through June was in line with expectations.