888 Holding Wins Bwin.Party Battle
888 Holdings is closing a deal to purchase Bwin.Party for $898 millon (GBP) ($1.8 billion USD). The deal ends months of wheeling and dealing by Bwin.Party’s potential suitors and leaves 888 rival GVC Holdings in the cold.
According to MorningStar UK, 888′s offer for Bwin.Party was actually less than GVC’s offer, but offered more long-term value and less risk to shareholders. At its core, 888′s bid offered 39.45p cash and a fraction of a new 888 share for each current Bwin.Party share.
In a statement to the press, one of Bwin.Party’s Directors described the deal as follows:
areful consideration, that 888′s offer provides a higher degree of certainty for Bwin.Party shareholders and that GVC’s modest incremental premium to 888′s offer is not sufficient for the Bwin.Party board to recommend GVC’s proposal over 888′s offer.
It should also be noted that Amaya Gaming, the Quebec-based owner of PokerStars, helped finance the Bwin.Party deal. It’s believed that they may eventually wind up taking control of the company’s sports betting assets.
So what exactly is it about Bwin.Party that made it so attractive to 888 and GVC? In 888′s case, the company’s robust technology business, based in its “Studios” division, may have been the key asset in the deal. Many analysts are speculating that 888 may spin off Studios as its own, standalone business unit.
No matter what their reasoning behind the purchase, 888 stands to make huge gains from the acquisition. If nothing else, the combined UK market share of the two companies is a whopping 56%.
In short, the UK igaming industry has a new giant to content with.