BUSINESS

GVC, Bwin.party shareholders approve takeover, deal to be done by February

TAGs: 37 entertainment, bwin.party, GVC Holdings

bwin-party-gvc-holdings-voteShareholders in UK-listed online gambling operators GVC Holdings and Bwin.party digital entertainment have overwhelmingly approved GVC’s acquisition of Bwin.party.

Both companies held shareholder meetings on Tuesday to vote on the proposed takeover, and the result was about what you’d expect if the question on the ballot had been ‘would you like to have conjugal relations with Rihanna’.

Bwin.party said 99.9% of its shareholders voted in favor of the deal, while GVC’s shareholders were only slightly less enthusiastic at 99.1%. A separate Bwin.party court meeting also returned near rapturous levels of endorsement. Sadly, Rihanna has yet to agree to anything.

The votes clear the way for the takeover to be complete by Feb. 1, 2016, at which time GVC’s AIM-listed shares will be admitted to the official list of the London Stock Exchange. Whether this movin’-on-up to the big leagues will change GVC’s traditionally tight-lipped approach to information sharing remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, GVC has vowed not to be distracted by a lawsuit filed by a Montreal-based company that accused GVC of reneging on a planned joint venture to launch Sportingbet-branded online gambling sites in Canada. In August, marketing firm 37 Entertainment (37E) and its boss Doug Honegger accused GVC of repeatedly delaying the signing of a final contract in order to focus on its Bwin.party deal.

In August, 37E filed a petition with the London Court of International Arbitration seeking declaratory judgment. On Friday, 37E revealed that the Quebec Superior Court had granted the company a motion to file a request for arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce in London.

GVC had rubbished 37E’s claims in August, calling the suit “without merit” and pointing out that not all of the prospective deals that GVC explores ultimately bear fruit. On Friday, GVC CEO Kenneith Alexander told The Times it would “vigorously” defend itself against such “spurious allegations.”

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