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$1.5 billion takeover battle: Online gaming company 888 bids for Bwin.Party

Avi Shaked 888 - PR

Israeli owned online gaming company 888 Holdings Plc, has made an offer to buy its bigger rival Bwin Party Digital Entertainment Plc. The offer raises the prospect of a $1.5 billion takeover battle between 888 and GVC Holdings Plc.

On Friday GVC Holdings Plc confirmed that it had bid for Bwin, which put itself up for sale last year.

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In February 2015, Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings was the subject of a failed £700 million takeover bid by bookmaker William Hill. Today it confirmed media rumors that it had made a takeover proposal to Bwin saying it saw “significant industrial logic” in combining with Bwin.

Bwin announced that its board was conducting a detailed review of the proposals received.

888 said that its board believes “there is significant industrial logic in a combination of 888 and, benefiting both companies and all shareholders”. It also said shareholders with an about 59 percent stake backed its offer. That would indicate support from the family trusts linked to the firm’s Israeli founders.

888 Holdings was founded in 1997 by Brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked, who own approximately fifty percent of the parent-company through family trusts. Another pair of brothers, Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak, control approximately eleven percent through a family trust.

According to British Telegraph two other Israeli owned gambling companies have also been rumored to be involved. Amaya, owner of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker has previously been linked with a bid for Bwin, as well as Teddy Sagi’s Playtech, which develops software for the online gambling industry.



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