Online gambling co 888 bids for Bwin.Party

Avi Shaked

888, owned by the Shaked and Ben-Yizhak families, will have to pay over £800 million for its Austrian rival.

Online gambling company 888 Holding plc (LSE:888) has bid for Austrian rival Bwin.Party Entertainment Holdings plc (LSE: BPTY.L). Israel's Shaked and Ben-Yizhak families own 60% of 888, which has a market cap of £600 million, and was the subject of a failed £750 million takeover bid by UK bookmaker William Hill plc (LSE: WMH) in February. The takeover failed because the Shakeds demanded that William Hill up its offer by nearly 50%.

In fact with a market cap of £800 million, Bwin.Party is a larger company than 888. In making the bid, 888 warned that there is no certainty that Bwin.Party shareholders will accept the offer but it stressed that there is "significant industrial logic in the merger."

Bwin merged with UK rival PartyGaming in 2011. The company's profits have fallen for three consecutive years due to market weakness in Europe.

If the deal goes ahead, it will be part of a series of mergers in the online gambling sector. CVC Capital has acquired Sky Bet after failing to buy Betfair, while in 2013 GVC acquired Sportingbet.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 18, 2015

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

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