888 agrees BwinParty acquisition

By David Cook
The boards of operators 888 Holdings and BwinParty have reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended offer that will see 888 acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of BwinParty.

The offer represents a value of approximately £898.3m, which equates to approximately 104.09p a share.

It is proposed that the offer will be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement, and it is expected that the scheme will become effective by the end of the fourth quarter of 2015 or in the early part of Q1 2016.

The offer is to be put to the vote of shareholders of both companies, and must be approved by a majority in the number of scheme shareholders voting at BwinParty’s Court Meeting in order to become effective, representing at least three quarters in value of the scheme shares voted.

The cash consideration payable by 888 will be financed through a $600m term loan credit facility.

888 CEO Brian Mattingley said: "This is a transformational opportunity for 888 in the consolidating online gaming industry, which is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. The enlarged group will benefit from significantly enhanced scale, an improved product offering as well as significant cost and revenue synergies.”

BwinParty chairman Philip Yea said: "A year ago we set out to explore industry consolidation opportunities whilst working to improve our core business. We have made substantial progress on both counts and our announcement today marks the first step in a new phase in our short history. Bringing our two groups together will generate substantial financial synergies for the benefit of both sets of shareholders and create a strong player with the breadth of product, brands and geographic coverage to grow faster than either business would be able to achieve stand-alone.”

It is proposed that BwinParty CEO Norbert Teufelberger will provide consultancy services as and when required by the 888 board with regard to the enlarged group’s sports betting offering.

888 confirmed its proposal to acquire BwinParty in May.

Online gaming group GVC Holdings made a proposal to acquire BwinParty which valued it at 110p a share, as was announced by both companies earlier this month.

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