GVC Holdings Makes Bwin.Party Takeover Move

The Isle of Man based gambling investment firm GVS Holdings has today announced that it is actively pursuing a potential takeover of rival gambling operator Bwin.Party.

When Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming plc merged back in March 2011, the two brands created the largest publically traded online gambling company in the world. The new firm, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, was expected by many to be a real success story. Things didn’t quite turn out like that though.

Bwin.Party is still a major player in the online gambling industry, but they have announced a series of disappointing results since the merger. Its assets have been effectively up for sale since early last year, and there were several rumors about possible takeovers during 2014. Amaya Gaming was strongly linked to a bid in November last year, and other interested parties being discussed were Playtech and Ladbrokes.

In March of this year, the Chairman of Bwin.Party (Philip Yea) publically confirmed that the company had held advanced talks with multiple parties regarding the sale of assets or a possible takeover. No names were mentioned at the time, but there has been plenty of on-going speculation about what might happen.

GVC Holdings has publically thrown its hat into the ring today, by announcing that it has submitted a proposal to acquire Bwin.Party. Although no terms of any proposed deal have been disclosed, the company has stated that should the acquisition go ahead it would be treated as a reverse takeover. This is due to Bwin.Party being a significantly larger operation than GVC, and it means that the transaction would require the formal approval of GVC shareholders.

The difference in size of the two companies makes this a bold move from GVC; their market value is less than half of Bwin.Party’s. However, GVC has been analyzing targets for potential buyouts for some time. The company has proved its competency in carrying out acquisitions too, with its successful takeover of SportingBet’s European operations back in 2013. It has also just announced record breaking results, with EBITDA earnings of nearly €50 million.

GVC Statement

The following is the official statement released by GVC Holdings today.

“GVC Holdings PLC (AIM:GVC), a leading online sports betting and gaming group, notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it has submitted a proposal with a view to the Group acquiring the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Bwin.Party digital entertainment plc.

If the proposed transaction were to complete, it would be treated as a reverse takeover due to the size of Bwin.Party relative to the Company and, in order for the proposed transaction to proceed, it would require, inter alia, the approval of GVC shareholders.

There can be no certainty that the submission of this proposal will lead to the Company being selected as a proposed acquirer of bwin.party or, in turn, completing an acquisition.  Further updates will be provided in due course.”

Bwin.Party Statement

The following is the official statement released by Bwin.Party today.

“Further to the increase in the Company’s share price earlier today and speculation in the media, the Board of Bwin.Party reconfirms that it is continuing its discussions with a number of third parties and has received revised proposals (including from GVC Holdings plc) regarding a variety of possible business combinations. There can be no guarantee that these discussions will result in any transaction being completed and a further update will be given in due course.”

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