Seeks to Secure $1.4 Billion Buyout Bid From GVC

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The battle to buy 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 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. 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’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’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 include Partypoker, Partycasino and FoxyBingo, and have also attracted the interest of 888. Gibraltar-based 888 said last month that its proposal to buy includes cash and shares, without giving a price. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on GVC’s proposal.

No Guarantee 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, 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 would result in substantial financial and operating synergies and represent an excellent opportunity for both GVC and shareholders,” GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander said in a statement.

Also Thursday, said gaming revenue in the three months through June was in line with expectations.