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.