It was announced today that two big powers in the European online gambling market will merge into one. In a reverse takeover, PartyGaming plans on acquiring Bwin Interactive in a deal valued at $1.76 billion dollars. This would create the world’s biggest traded online gambling company.
According to Bloomberg,
“The merged company, which had reported sales of 682 million euros, will be 51.6 percent owned by Vienna-based Bwin, with PartyGaming of Gibraltar holding the rest, the companies said in a statement today. The new company would be listed in London and have leading positions in online poker, sports betting, casino and games such as bingo, they said.”
So what should anyone make of this merger? Accordeing to Gianmarco Bonacina, an analyst with Equita SIM SpA in Milan this moves puts the combined company in a better financial position versus PokerStars and FullTilt as well as positioning them to take advantage of emerging markets.
Gianmarco told Bloomberg,
“From an industrial point of view this is both an offensive and a defensive move. In Europe, Bwin and PartyGaming are losing market share in poker versus Pokerstars and Fulltilt, so the combination will protect them. In the U.S., the move is offensive. They want to attack that market and are in a better position if they combine.”
Since as of yesterday, the move to regulate online gambling in the United States has been put in motion, PartyGaming Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan told reporters, “We will immediately be a leader in these markets as they open up.” Also considering online gambling rule revisions are Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Ireland and Spain.
The remaining hurdle of this merger would be to get shareholders to vote in favor of it which the board members of each company will unanimous support and ask each shareholder to vote in favor of it.