After rumors rampantly raced around the industry, it was confirmed by the second largest internet gaming company that it was in discussions with “multiple parties” regarding the sale of all or parts of the business.
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The Gibraltar-based bwin.party confirmed to eGaming Reviewon Wednesday that the company is in talks with several organizations. “Further to recent media speculation regarding a possible bid for bwin.party, the Board… confirms that it has entered into preliminary discussions with a number of interested parties regarding a variety of potential business combinations with a view to creating additional value for bwin.party shareholders,” the company stated in an official release.
“Such discussions may or may not result in an offer being made for the company. However, as all such discussions remain at a preliminary stage, there can be no certainty as to whether or not they will result in any form of transaction with any party.”
While the official statement didn’t list any of the potential companies, there has been speculation about the list of suitors. At the top of the list is Amaya Gaming, which recently completed the purchase of the Rational Group, the ownership behind PokerStarsand Full Tilt Poker. This possibility could potentially be a longshot, as it would give Amaya an unprecedented monopoly on the online gaming and poker market, not to mention be pricey.
A “private equity firm” has been confirmed as “taking a look” at bwin.party, according to eGaming Review.
The long history of bwin.party demonstrates the tumultuous nature of the online gaming industry. Originally known as betandwin.com when it was founded in 1997, bwinwas born in 2006 and became one of the strongest online sports betting sites in Europe. Founded that same year, Party Gaming went in the direction of online poker with its powerhouse site PartyPoker and, in 2009, purchased the World Poker Tour from WPT Enterprises.
After two years of negotiations, the companies merged in 2011 to create the largest online gaming and poker company in the industry. Once the merger was completed, the newly created bwin.party traded on the London Stock Exchange for 205.07 pence, putting its value at over $1 billion. Since the merger, however, the stock has slipped with increased competition around the globe.
After bottoming out at 101 pence in late 2012, bwin.party’s stock rebounded to 154 pence in March 2013. Trading at 89.65 pence as late as October 31 of this year, the news of a potential sale drove the stock price up to 119.10 pence at the close of business on Wednesday in London.
Even though the stock price isn’t what it once was, bwin.party would be attractive to anyone in the online gaming and poker industry. Currently in a dead heat with Full Tilt Poker on the PokerScoutrankings for fifth place in terms cash game volume, the bwin.party poker software and customer lists would be desirable to own. The same could be said of the company’s sports betting operations, considered one of the best in the industry.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest right here on PocketFives.