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24 January 2011

Gaming Giants Close To Merger

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Shareholders of Austria-based online gaming company bwin will be urged to approve a merger with Gibraltar-based PartyGaming at an Extraordinary General Meeting later this month.

The merger will create the world’s largest online gaming business, based and managed from Gibraltar but listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Assuming the merger is approved, bwin shareholders will own 51.5% of the enlarged group, with PartyGaming shareholders owning the balance.

In a presentation to analysts, the companies estimated that the merger will generate pre-tax synergies of E55m a year by removing duplication, exploiting economies of scale and share best practices.

There will also be opportunities for cross-selling of products and tapping into new markets.

The companies said the enlarged group would continue to expand internationally through the development of ring-fenced, regional networks.

Executives have their eye on both regulated markets and, markets where regulation is expected in the future.

Among the new group’s strategic aims is to position itself so that it can enter the US market, where online gaming is currently strictly curtailed and restricted.

The enlarged group would be "well-positioned to enter the US market should regulations allow."

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