GVC, owner of several gaming brands including Sportingbet, have beaten off competition from 888 Holdings to secure bwin.party entertainment. The deal, which was announced Friday, will see GVC pay £1.1bn (€1.5bn or $1.7bn) in cash-and-shares for the gaming business.
It was widely reported that 888 had secured bwin.party back in July, however GVC did not give in and continued to put improved offers on the table for the bwin board. Their dogged determination paid off, as momentum started to swing in their favor and they came out victors in the race for bwin.
The revised offer includes over €125m ($140m or £90m) of annual cost savings, which GVC will start to implement once they take over business. This prompted bwin chairman Philip Yea to confirm that this will likely lead to job cuts to the 2,300 staff currently employed by the company worldwide.
Yea told The Guardian that it had been hard to split the offers from the rival bidders, saying: “It really has been a question of balancing some very fine judgments at the margin.”
He said: “GVC have been very determined, have worked extraordinarily hard to catch up and to provide a credible plan that was more attractive.”
GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander said: “GVC is the natural partner for bwin.party considering our strong sports betting and online gaming pedigree.”
“Sports betting is in our DNA and leveraging GVC’s experience of successfully acquiring and restructuring online gaming businesses, notably Sportingbet in 2013, we look forward to merging the two operations to deliver long-term value for combined shareholders.”
GVC will fund the takeover with a €400m loan from investment firm Cerberus and a €15m share placing.