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PartyGaming and Bwin Set to Merge [Copy Link]

PartyGaming and Bwin Set to Merge

Online poker giant PartyGaming is poised for more takeover deals after a £2.1billion tie-up with Austrian rival bwin to create the world’s biggest listed online gaming company.

After months of speculation, the pair showed their hand with a proposed merger giving them leading positions in poker, sports betting, casino and bingo, with gaming revenues of £570million and earnings of £164million.

As well as estimated annual savings of £46million, the deal positions them to profit from any deregulation of the lucrative American market. Earlier this week, a US senate committee voted through measures seen as a positive step towards reopening the US online gaming market nearly four years after a crackdown which forced PartyGaming and other firms to withdraw.

PartyGaming investors will own 48.4 per cent of the enlarged company, to be listed in London, with bwin controlling 51.6 per cent. Party’s chief executive, Jim Ryan, and his bwin counterpart, Norbert Teufelberger, will be co-chief executives. The companies said the scale benefits of joining forces would put the enlarged business in “an excellent position to further consolidate the online gaming industry”.

Ryan said: “This is a transformational opportunity to create the world’s largest listed online gaming business. “With market leading positions in poker, sports betting, casino and games, the enlarged group will have a winning formula to exploit the growing online gaming market, supported by a strong balance sheet, significant cash flow generation and a highly experienced management team.

“We’re very excited about the US opportunity. It’s tough to quantify it until we actually see the form of legislation but there was a very positive step made yesterday and that’s in addition to a number of positive steps that have occurred at a federal and state level over the year.”

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