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PartyGaming planning to merge with Bwin

Proposed deal would create the world’s largest listed online gaming business and see Austrian firm relocate to Gibraltar.

Thursday 29th July 2010

After many months of negotiations and numerous false dawns, leading online betting and gaming provider Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and Gibraltar-based operator PartyGaming have announced that they are planning to merge. If successful, the proposed deal would create the world's largest listed online gaming business with Vienna-based Bwin owning a majority 51.64 percent of the enlarged group while the remaining 48.35 percent would be held by PartyGaming. The new business is set to be listed on the London Stock Exchange with irrevocable undertakings in support of the proposed merger having been received from shareholders holding 28.5 percent of PartyGaming and 14.4 percent of Austria-listed Bwin. “This is a transformational opportunity for both our companies to create the world's largest listed online gaming business,” said Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer for PartyGaming. “With market-leading positions in poker, sportsbetting, casino and games, in particular bingo, the enlarged group will have a winning formula to exploit the growing online gaming market supported by a strong balance sheet, significant cashflow generation and a highly experienced management team.” The proposed agreement would see the assets and liabilities of Bwin transferred to PartyGaming to create a European joint stock company incorporated in Gibraltar. Ryan would serve alongside Norbert Teufelberger, Co-Chief Executive Officer for Bwin, as Co-Chief Executive Officers for the new business with Bwin shareholders receiving 12.23 new PartyGaming shares for each share that they held in the Austrian firm. The proposed merger is expected to have significant earnings enhancements for both firms pre-amortisation with annual synergies estimated at €55 million. The pair turned over €682 million last year and would have approximate earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation €196 million before synergies. “This merger of equals makes great strategic, operational and financial sense,” said Teufelberger. “We will be in pole position to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities that will flow from the continued evolution and expansion of the global online gaming industry.”

Source: OnlineCasinoNews

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