888 Lose out to GVC in £1.16 BILLION Merger Deal with Bwin.party

Contrary to the widely held expectation that 888 would be the favorite to win the bidding war to merge with bwin.party, the company recently announced their acceptance of rival GVC Holding’s bid of £1.6 billion ($1.7 billion). This merger will see bwin.party shareholders retaining a majority 66.6% and its current CEO, Norbert Teufelberger, as the new company’s director.

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This outcome has come as a surprise to interested onlookers like Global Betting and Gaming Consultant’s CEO, Warwick Bartlett. During an August interview on the matter, Mr. Bartlett indicated that a merger between bwin.party and 888 would be the most logical decision, as both parties are listed companies on the London Stock Exchange and as such would not run the risk of operating in unregulated markets, unlike GVC Holdings who is small in comparison to 888 and who do trade in “grey” markets.

In a joint statement released by both companies, bwin.party chairman, Philip Yea concluded that “many factors, including, but not limited to, the headline value per share” was taken into consideration when reaching their final decision. So in the end GVC just outbid 888. Its final offer resulted in a 23.1% share of GVC stock and 25 pence share in cash per bwin.party investor.

This merger is but one of many to take place in the online casino market during the past year, the most recent of which being Betfair and Paddy Power’s £5 billion merger which has resulted in the new company being the second biggest global iGaming business, right behind Bet365.

888 SUBMITS NEW TAKEOVER PROPOSAL TO BWIN

In a recent update, bwin.party confirmed that a revised proposal has been lodged by 888, and is currently being looked over. This comes after expressing satisfaction with key elements of GVC Holding’s opposing bid in answer to 888’s original bid.

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Bwin could not confirm whether 888’s new proposal comes in at a lower or higher bid, only that the matter would be discussed with key shareholders before making a final decision. The revised proposal is said to be subject to a number of pre-conditions that can be waived in whole or in part by 888.

GVC expressed that it has made “significant progress” with its bid, and reconfirmed its recommendation to bwin to consider 888’s original bid versus that of the GVC.

With regards to the revised proposal, the board of bwin.party issued that its unanimous recommendation of 888’s offer announced on 17 July, remains unchanged in light of this event.

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