The silly season is just around the corner and just to make sure we all hit the ground running online gambling giant Bwin.Party have come out with the news that they are currently in takeover discussions.
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PLC issued a media release today stating:
“Further to recent media speculation regarding a possible bid for bwin.party, the Board of bwin.party 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. 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.
Further announcements will be made as and when appropriate.”
The media speculation referred to is a story by the Financial Times claiming Canadian company Amaya Gaming have approached Bwin with a takeover offer.
Amaya shelled out just under $5 billion for the Rational Group earlier this year (owners of the Full Tilt and Poker Stars brands). If the Financial Times are correct, they’re not done with their spending spree yet.
Bwin’s share price has slipped significantly since May on disappointing financial results, although speculation of a possible takeover saw it jump 18% today giving the company a market capitalisation of just shy of £1 billion. Any serious offer would need to be north of that figure you’d think.
The speculation doesn’t end there.
Also getting tongues wagging today was the news that Playtech are raising €315 million from the sale of a convertible bond. Certain analysts have put two and two together and decided these funds could be intended for a play for Bwin.
The name Ladbrokes has also popped up as a possible alternate takeover target of Playtech.
Perhaps Amaya should wait for Playtech to buy Bwin.Party and/or Ladbrokes, then swallow the lot. That would make for a interesting silly season indeed!