Online betting company Bwin accepts GVC takeover bid

Bwin accepts GVC bid Image copyright Reuters

Online betting company Bwin has accepted a £1.1bn takeover offer from GVC Holdings in preference to rival bidder, 888 Holdings.

Bwin had originally agreed to an offer from 888, worth about £900m, but GVC, the owner of Sportingbet, fought back.

Bwin - whose brands include Partypoker, Partycasino and Foxy Bingo - said GVC's offer was "fair and reasonable".

Bwin chairman Philip Yea said in a company video that shareholders were split about abandoning the 888 offer.

"There was a pretty even split of those that expressed views one way or the other. But we also had a significant block of shares that was happy to support the board on its deliberations,"

GVC's offer of 25p in cash and 0.231 new GVC shares comes to nearly 130p per share based on Thursday's closing price.

Reducing costs

Bwin said the GVC offer provided £120m additional value compared with the 888 bid.

The company said they were also swayed by higher expected savings and GVC's track record of integrating acquisitions, such as that of Sportingbet in 2013.

Earlier this week it was reported that GVC was prepared to launch a hostile bid for Bwin.

The 888 board confirmed it had withdrawn from the bidding process saying it cannot see sufficient value in Bwin to increase its offer.

Stricter regulations are pushing online gambling companies to merge to try and reduce operating costs.

Size is also seen as vital to ensure competitiveness in an online market buoyed by the use of tablets and mobiles.

Shares in Bwin, rose in early trading in response to the news, but have since fallen.

GVC shares closed down by nearly 4%. Meanwhile 888 shares closed up by 0.31%.

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