All have joined the negotiations around the possible sale of all or part of bwin’s assets have been rolling around since last summer, but escalated on Friday with the news that GVC Holdings, which owns Sportingbet, had made a bid for $1.7 billion in partnership with Amaya Inc.
888 Holdings joins the Party
888 Holdings wasted no time to pounce into action. The company announced on Monday morning that it had submitted a proposal for the acquisition of “the entire issued and to be issued share capital of bwin.party for consideration comprising cash and 888 shares.”
59% of the 888 shareholders have already voted in support of the deal which was needed in order to move forward. It is more then likely the rest of the shareholders will vote in favor as well. In a bwin.party statement Monday morning, they went on to say: “The board of bwin.party has noted the announcement made by 888 Holdings and confirms that it has received a proposal,”
“The board and its advisers are conducting a detailed review of the proposals received to-date and will make a further announcement in due course, however there can be no certainty that these proposals will result in a transaction being completed.”
888’s bid seems far simpler than the GVC/Amaya carve-up. Savings from geographical overlaps look to be larger for 888. But more importantly, it has the bigger growth potential of cross-selling its huge casino customer base into Bwin’s legion of sports betters.
Amaya & GVC Looking to Divide Bwin.party
However, the Amaya/GVC proposal would result in separating bwin.party, with Amaya interested primarily in acquiring its poker operations, and possibly its Sportsbook. Such a deal would unite a former giant of online poker and the global market leader, in Party Poker and PokerStars.
It could also unite the Amaya’s PokerStars-umbrella’d EPT brand and bwin’s WPT brand under one parent company for the live tournament scene. It would also give Amaya another path into the US as bwin.party is licensed in New Jersey already with Borgata.
Amaya Might Acquire the Sportsbook
Amaya and GVC are in talks to create a plan for the takeover. GVC would own the majority of the Sportsbook, while Amaya would have the option to purchase the poker operations. GVC management would then be in charge with restructuring the rest of bwin.party’s assets over the ensuing 2 years. After that, if Amaya wishes, they can take over the Sportsbook.
Bwin’s expertise in online sports betting may certainly be attractive to Amaya. Sports wagering is available in certain markets on the PokerStars platform.
GVC has participated in joint takeovers before. They teamed up with William Hill to acquire Sportingbet two years ago.