Not Worth A Revised Bid, Says 888 On Bwin-g.v.c. Deal

888 withdraws from bidding war

888 Holdings has issued a statement in response to the news Friday that Bwin-Party directors have recommended the acquisition bid of rival GVC Holdings.
The statement notes that the Bwin-Party board has withdrawn its support for the 888 Holdings bid, and accordingly the cooperation agreement between 888 and Bwin dated 17 July has been terminated.
"The 888 board has concluded that, as a result of its own extensive due diligence on bwin.party, it cannot see sufficient value in bwin.party to warrant a revision to its offer. Consequently, 888 confirms that it is no longer in discussions regarding the acquisition of bwin.party," the statement advises, adding that 888 directors remain focused on growing shareholder value by pursuing strategic growth initiatives.
In related news, in an article on GVC's successful bid, The Guardian newspaper reported Friday that GVC's valuation of bwin at GBP 1.116 billion was 12.9 percent ahead of the final offer.
"The successful proposal also targets annual costs savings of Euro 125 million annually compared with a $70 million target for synergies under the 888 offer," the newspaper notes, quoting GVC chief Kenneth Alexander, who appears confident that he can deliver cost cutting through synergies, with some 60 percent of the planned cuts effected next year and focused on IT, admin and marketing … for example in football sponsorships.
Alexander said there was some duplication in sportsbook activity, and that GVC will move to the superior bwin platform as a more scalable and well-proved option, which will be further developed in the future.
Bwin-Party chairman Philip Yea, admitted to The Guardian that the agreement with GVC will likely mean job cuts. Bwin employed about 2,300 people at the end of last year in Europe, India and the US. GVC employed about 500 people last year.
Yea revealed that the decision to go with GVC was the result of a difficult assessment of both offers which had required the Bwin directors to balance "some very fine judgements at the margin."
He confirmed that not all shareholders agreed with the GVC decision, but observed that there was also a number who were prepared to go with the Bwin-Party directors' recommendation.
"GVC have been very determined, have worked extraordinarily hard to catch up and to provide a credible plan that was more attractive, Yea revealed.
Commenting for the article on behalf of GVC, 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."

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