Amaya joins U.K. battle for acquisition of Bwin.party
GVC Holdings Plc, a London-listed online gambling company, is teaming up with Canadian gaming titan Amaya Inc. in its effort to acquire Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc and thwart a rival bid from 888 Holdings Plc.
The possible takeover of Bwin.party by GVC, announced May 15, would be financed jointly with Amaya, the Isle of Man-based company said in a statement Tuesday.
Amaya, based in Point-Claire, Que., became the biggest publicly-held online gambling company in the world last year when it bought the PokerStars and Full Tilt poker brands for $4.9-billion.
Brands owned by Bwin.party include Partypoker, Partycasino and FoxyBingo, and have also attracted the interest of 888, which said Monday that it made its own proposal to buy the business, initiating a contest with GVC.
“The partnership is a serious competitor to 888,” Nick Batram, an analyst at Peel Hunt, wrote in a note. “Bwin.party’s days as an independent entity look numbered.”
Bwin.party rose 0.6 per cent per cent to 108.6 pence at 9:20 a.m. in London Monday and have risen 21 per cent since May 14, the day before GVC announced its intentions. The gain took the Gibraltar-based company’s market value to 894 million pounds ($1.4-billion), more than GVC’s 286 million pounds.
Shares in Amaya, led by Chief Executive Officer David Baazov, have jumped more than 3,000 per cent since selling for C$1 each in a July 2010 initial public offering, according to Bloomberg data. They closed at C$32.32 in Toronto Monday, valuing the company at C$4.3-billion ($3.5-billion). Its net debt was C$2.7-billion at the end of 2014.
Bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger has been considering a sale since at least November, when the company said it was in early talks with several potential partners. The online gaming operator was formed by a 2011 merger.