"Sunday Times": 888, PartyGaming in merger talks

"The Sunday Times" says the two are holding initial talks aimed at creating a £1.6 billion company.

"The Sunday Times" reports that Party Gaming and 888 holdings, two of the largest online gambling operators, are holding initial contacts regarding a possible merger which would create a £1.6 billion company.

According the paper, the move is an attempt to cope after sales were hit by changes in US legislation banning online gambling.

According to one insider: “All the players have been talking to each other for weeks. At one stage there were plans for attempting a multi-company merger but it was decided that this would be too difficult and that one merger at a time would be quicker.”

The paper reports that other firms also trying to find ways to consolidate include UK companies Sportingbet, whose former chairman, Peter Dicks, was arrested in America last month and Excapsa, as well as Austrian internet betting firm Bwin.

The big gaming companies are looking to acquire rivals that have a strong European or Asian presence. For example, Party Gaming has been linked with a deal to buy Gamesys, which is big on the Continent, and Victor Chandler, the bookmaker that has the biggest player base in Asia.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on October 29, 2006

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

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