Online gambling operator 888 Holdings has confirmed that it has made an offer for rival bwin.party on Monday, after reports over the weekend that it had emerged as a bidder in the estimated £1bn sale of the company.
“The board believes that there is significant industrial logic in a combination of 888 and bwin.party, benefiting both companies and all shareholders and accordingly, has submitted a proposal regarding the acquisition of the entire issued and to be issued share capital of bwin.party for consideration comprising cash and 888 shares,” said 888 in a statement.
888 also added that due to its smaller size relative to its acquisition target, the proposal requires approval of 888 shareholders. 888 says shareholders controlling approximately 59% of 888’s share capital have irrevocably committed to vote in favor of the proposed transaction, subject to customary conditions.
888 also confirmed that bwin has received its proposal to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of bwin.party.
“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,” added 888.
In March during announcement of its 2014 profits, 888 CEO Brian Mattingley told analysts that he expects that the company “will be party to something” on the acquisition front, although he clarified that he was “not speaking with anything in mind.” Mattingley also added that the Shaked and Ben-Yitzhak families view an all-share combination with a rival as “a positive move.”
888’s possible acquisition of bwin would be a reverse takeover since 888 is worth £600m, less than bwin’s market capitalization of £800m.
Bwin was put up for sale last November and confirmed on Friday that it had received a number of approaches, including one from GVC Holdings. Amaya Gaming, owner of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker, has also been linked with a bid, as well as software developer Playtech.