888 tables bid to acquire bwin.party
Operator confirms bid to acquire bwin.party just days after GVC mounted a reverse takeover bid
888 has today confirmed it has joined the race to acquire bwin.party after tabling a bid to acquire the entire share capital of the operator. [private]
In an RNS statement released this morning, 888 confirmed weekend UK press reports that it had made an offer to acquire bwin.party in a deal estimated to be worth more than Â£1bn ($1.57bn).
âThe Board believes that there is significant industrial logic in a combination of 888 and bwin.party, benefiting both companies and all shareholders and, accordingly, has submitted a proposal regarding the acquisition of the entire issued and to be issued share capital of bwin.party for consideration comprising cash and 888 shares,â 888 said in an RNS statement.
The proposed cash and shares deal would require the approval of 888 shareholders, of which the firm said it had already garnered the support of 59%.
EGR North AmericaÂ understands the Shaked family, which has a 48% stake in 888, has approved the takeover bid having previouslyÂ scuppered UK bookmaker William Hillâs Â£750m ($1.1bn) bidÂ to acquire the operator back in February.
Todayâs announcement comes afterÂ GVC Holdings revealed on FridayÂ it had made an offer for bwin.party in a non-cash deal which would be treated as a reverse takeover.
Bwin.party has confirmed the receipt of both bids and said it will now study the proposals but stressed there was âno certaintyâ either offer would be accepted.
An 888 takeover of bwin.party would certainly make sense from an operational point of view, with the two firms already linked through B2B partnerships.
Bwin.party uses the 888 Dragonfish platform to power its Foxy Bingo site, and recently strengthened that partnership to launch aÂ Foxy-branded casino offering.
Both operators are also licensed and operating poker and casino platforms in the regulated New Jersey market.
And while bwin.partyâs market cap of Â£812.5m ($1.2bn) overshadows that of 888 at Â£585.1m ($917m), the operators have experienced very different fortunes of late.
888 has gone from strength to strengthÂ reporting record FY 2014 profits, but bwin.party has seen continued decline withÂ revenues and EBITDA both downÂ 6% last year.
Amaya Gaming is the only other major operator strongly linked with an acquisition of bwin.party but has yet to make an offer for the operator.
Bwin.partyâs share price was up 11.4% this morning to 110.8p while 888âs had dropped 3.6% to 163.50p.