888 Holdings Improves Its Hand in the Poker Battle That’s Become Bwin.party Bidding War

September 1st, 2015 | by Jason Reynolds
888 Holdings bwin.party rebid

888 Holdings has offered a new bid for bwin.party in the latest round of wrangling for the iGaming platform. (Image: leiloeiropublico.com.br)

888 Holdings has raised rival GVC Holdings with a new bid for bwin.party in the seemingly never-ending battle for control of bwin, which took another turn on Tuesday.

Following last week’s breaking news that GVC had made a revised bid for bwin.party, official confirmation was given to 888 soon after that the outfit had the right to produce a counterproposal. 888 jumped at the  opportunity, and a fresh set of terms was provided in writing by Tuesday morning.

Although the details of the new bid haven’t been made public as of yet, early reports suggest that it does come with a number of pre-conditions which may be linked to the final takeover price should certain conditions be either met or not met.

Deal Is in the Details

These pre-conditions will now be the subject of another meeting between the members of bwin’s board. However, if previous form is an indicator of a likely outcome, then 888’s bid could be one that bwin.party is willing to accept with open arms.

Back in July, 888 became the preferred partner in the takeover talks, thanks to a $1.4 billion (£900 million) cash and shares bid. The future conditions of the 888 bid were deemed to be more favorable than the more financially lucrative, yet structurally more complex, offer put together by GVC.

However, with GVC not content to fold its hand without a fight, a new series of increased offers has put 888’s early acquisition certainty in doubt. In fact, the latest move from GVC saw $1.5 billion (£1 billion) or close to 197 cents (130 pence) per share formally offered; a move which reopened the talks once again.

888 Holdings Still Bookmakers’ Favorite

All things being equal, many believe that 888 is still holding the upper hand in the current battle. Giving his take on the situation to Reuters, analyst Simon Davies of Canaccord Genuity explained that 888’s revised offer could be around the 176 cents (115 pence) per share mark.

Davies also believes the company’s stronger track record in the iGaming industry, coupled with a better stock market rating than GVC, could be enough to push the deal in 888’s favor.

“My view is 888 is in a stronger position: bigger business, stronger balance sheet, they are main market listed. They have got a much longer track record in terms of the management team and much higher rating for the stock,” explained Davies.

Regardless of which company assumes control of bwin.party, the fortunes of each operator appear to be on a high in light of the current news. GVC’s share price has crept up 3 percent in a year, while 888’s has increased by 0.6 percent in recent weeks to complete a year-on-year improvement of 27 percent.

Additionally, bwin is trading 27 percent higher than it was at the same point in 2014, which means the company’s overall value is now around $1.4 billion (£960 million).

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