GVC and hedge fund unite in battle for Bwin

Edith Hancock
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Foxy Bingo owners Bwin could still sell to GVC
THE RACE for digital entertainment company Bwin.Party has intensified yet again, after Sportingbet owners GVC re-entered the bidding war with New York hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management with a £1bn takeover offer.

Online gambling company GVC has joined forces with the aggressive American hedge fund to launch a fresh offer for Foxy Bingo owners Bwin. Earlier this month, Bwin had agreed a sale for £900m to rival 888 Holdings, despite GVC’s higher bid.

If successful, the manoeuvre by Aim-listed GVC would bring the online gambling company on to the main market.

Despite Bwin chair Philip Yea being discouraged from selling to GVC because it was a club deal with Canadian gaming firm Amaya, GVC has now said it is “considering its options”, meaning the company could be making an offer in partnership with both Cerberus and Amaya.

Amaya said that it was unable to comment on speculation, but its role in the bid alongside GVC and Cerberus is to be confirmed this week.

The latest twist comes after a considerable shift in the betting industry landscape. Companies such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and 888 are all looking to team up in an effort to survive a competitive mobile betting market.

Last week, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral sealed a £2.3bn merger, while 888 also received a bid from William Hill this year. Last August, Amaya bought gambling sites Poker Stars and Full Tilt for £3bn, creating the world’s largest listed online gambling company.

2 AUGUST 2014
Canadian gaming outfit Amaya buys Poker Stars and Full Tilt in a £3bn cash buyout, creating the world’s largest listed gambling business.

1 OCTOBER 2014
A new gambling law comes into force that requires any firm dealing with British customers to be licensed by the UK gambling commission.

10 FEBRUARY 2015
William Hill offers 210p a share for 888, valuing the company at more than £740m. Reports claimed 888 had hoped for an offer of 300p a share.

16 FEBRUARY 2015
William Hill and 888 end their discussions over a possible takeover deal after 888 Holdings shareholders rejected the offer as too low.

7 JULY 2015
GVC makes a bid for rival Bwin.Party, valuing shares at around 110p per share, nearly 10p above Bwin’s share value at the time.

17 JULY 2015
GVC’s consortium bid with Amaya fails, as Bwin accepts a lower offer from rival company 888. 888 offered Bwin 104p per share for the takeover.

24 JULY 2015
Ladbrokes and Gala Coral seal their discussions with a £2.3bn merger, making a company that could rival William Hill.

26 JULY 2015
Sportingbet owners GVC team up with US hedge fund Cerberus to launch a fresh bid for Bwin. The firms are expected to offer up to 120p per share.

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