Bidding War on Bwin.Party Sale Likely to Ignite, as Amaya Gaming Emerges as GVC’s Partner


blackjackDevelopments about the Bwin.Party sale have recently been keeping the public, particularly investors, up on their toes. Since GVC Holding’s announcement last Friday (May 15, 2015), about its proposal and intention to acquire Bwin.Party; and of 888Holdings’ subsequent emergence as contending bidder; and lately of Amaya Gaming’s confirmation of being GVC’s acquirement partner, the Bwin.Party acquisition saga is turning out to be more and more interesting.

As further developments took place early this week (May 18, 2015), analysts were quick to speculate that 888Holdings is in the likeliest position to succeed in clinching the acquisition deal. Although 888Holdings itself, has been the subject of previous takeover acquisition offers, the company has rejected such offers whilst asserting that the enterprise is in good health and not really seeking financial bailouts. Moreover, 888Holdings has twice the capital market shares of GVC Holdings, making it seemingly more capable to offer a billion pound bid price that Bwin.Party shareholders would consider as lucrative.

However, events took a different turn last Tuesday (May 19, 2015), when GVC Holdings gave confirmation to rumours that the largest listed firm in the world, the Amaya Group, will jointly finance GVC’s proposal to acquire Bwin.Party via a reverse takeover approach. Apparently, a bid war is about to ensue, since the Amaya Group has long been showing interest in acquiring Bwin.Party, even in part.

In support of GVC’s claim, the Canadian gaming firm came out with a press release on the same day (May 19, 2015) announcing that the company has agreed to jointly finance GVC’s bid to acquire Bwin.Party’s entire authorised capital shares, comprising both issued and yet to be issued shares. The Amaya press statement explained that one of the components of the company’s growth strategy includes strategic acquisitions.

According to the statement, the Toronto-listed firm evaluates acquisition opportunities regularly. In some cases, the gaming company even pursues potential deals that would prove to be accretive to their shareholders or one that could expand their customer base. The company also actively looks into acquisition targets that could expand its business-to-consumer (B2C) offerings with new products, or opportunities of gaining a foothold in new geographies, and/or of bringing on new consumers. The statement disclosed that occasionally, such process leads to preliminary discussions with the company considered as promising acquisition target.

The statement made clear that the Amaya confirmation of the GVC Holdings acquisition partnership is only for the purpose of meeting GVC’s regulatory requirements. In accordance with the organization’s policy, it does not include public comments regarding the possible acquisition, not unless, a legally binding agreement has been executed.

Nonetheless, unconfirmed reports state that similar to 888Holding’s proposed settlement terms, the Amaya-GVC acquisition tandem is also planning to tender cash and shares as combined modes of payment. Should their team-up succeed in clinching the Bwin.Party deal, GVC will take over management of the Bwin.Party sportsbook as majority shareholder; but not without giving the Amaya Group, option to purchase the sportsbook section in the future.

In a scenario in which an agreement becomes final and complete, Amaya has the option to takeover immediately, the Bwin.Party Poker assets.

Bwin.Party though continues to make it clear that their evaluation of the proposals submitted, and its confirmation of GVC and 888Holding’s regulatory pronouncements of having interests in acquiring Bwin.Party’s entire capital share, do not necessarily give guarantee that a sale transaction would be completed.