888 loses battle to buy Bwin.Party


GVC has outbid its Israeli online gaming rival, with a $1.7 billion offer accepted by Bwin.

Israeli online gaming company 888 Holding plc (LSE:888) has lost out to GVC Holdings plc in the battle to buy Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. GVC will buy Bwin.Party for 129.64p per share, giving a company value of $1.7 billion.

In July, Bwin agreed a deal to be acquired by 888 for 104.9 pence a share worth an overall $1.4 billion but 888's rival GVC offered an unsolicited higher deal of about $1.55 billion. Last week 888, raised its offer with a reported bid of 115p per share, however, GVC has now come through to win the duel with its latest bid.

Controlled by Israel's Shaked and Ben-Yitzhak families, 888 operates the world's largest online casino and poker operation. Acquisition of Bwin would have expanded its poker operations and extended activities to bingo and sports betting online.

888 can now be expected to seek some smaller acquisitions in order to hasten growth and consolidate its market position. The Israeli company's share price remained virtually unchanged despite losing to its rival, with the market perhaps realizing that buying Bwin.Party with all its problems may not have been entirely advantageous, and necessarily created value.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 7, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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