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Bwin and Party Gaming Closer to a Merger?
January 16, 2010
Are two of the industry’s biggest gambling giants, Bwin and Party Gaming due to sign a merger deal? If rumors are anything to go by, this new year may see one of the biggest consolidation deals becoming a reality.  None of the entities involved have denied or confirmed these rumors, although Party Gaming has said that it is in negotiations with “several companies”. 

In the past twelve months, it is clear that Party Gaming has been going all out in order to expand its operations and get ahead in the game. The group, through its subsidiaries, has made a powerful footprint in the growing UK bingo market by acquiring Foxy Bingo operator Cashcade. In the poker field, the group bought the full rights for the World Poker Tour brand and site and is seeking to expand its professional poker team.  

To those looking in the from the outside, Party Gaming is doing all it can to position itself to enter the US market if and when it opens up to offshore operators. While Party Gaming was forced to leave the US gambling market when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006 (due to the fact that it had shareholders to answer to on the London Stock Exchange), this does not mean that the group cannot ready itself to jump right back in when conditions improve. 

The merger of Bwin and Party Gaming has been defined as the perfect marriage by gambling analysts. Party Gaming, through its recent acquisitions and existing subsidiaries, has a massive player base and plenty of liquidity. However, it lacks the online sports betting reputation and recognition that Bwin has. Put those elements together, and you have one very powerful gambling entity. 

The dollar signs attached to any potential merger certainly make this one mind boggling deal. Party Gaming is currently valued at £1 billion and Bwin at £1.3 billion, which means that consolidation could definitely make it one of the biggest the gambling industry has ever seen. 

As the two groups continue to meet (none have denied the existence of talks between them), we can only wait and see whether the next 11 months of this year will result in an announcement coming from their camp regarding a deal.

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