Last week Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc confirmed that GVC Holdings Plc has made an offer to buy. The deal is reportedly worth US$1.4 billion (GBP908 million) in cash and stock. That amounts to US$1.71 (GBX110 per share).
GVC is in a bidding war with 888 Holdings over the company. 888 made their bid in May altho0ugh the value of the offer was not disclosed.
The GVC bid is backed by Amaya Inc of Canada, owners of online poker and betting sites Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. Amaya, with those brands acquired last year, is currently the largest poker company in the world. A consolidation with Bwin’s PartyPoker, Bwin Poker, and WPT, (World Poker Tour) would cinch a lion’s share of the online poker market. Amaya is providing some of the funding for the proposed deal and will likely take some of the assets if the sale is completed.
Bwin.party was created by a merger of the Bwin sports betting site and PartyGaming in 2011. The company currently has a market value about three times that of GVC. Amaya acquired the Rational Group poker sites in a highly leveraged buyout that sent them overnight from a second tier contender to world online gambling dominance.
The Bwin board is considering the GVC offer and should provide a response within a few days. Bwin said last week they would work with GVC to finalize the offer, which many took to mean the deal would close. No such closing statement was issued.
Reports today indicate that 888 is turning up the heat and not to be dissuaded by the “preferred bidder” status reportedly given to GVC. Most analysts are not expecting 888 to increase the cash portion of its offer, but rather focus on the value of their shares.
The race seems to still be on with no clear winner in sight.