bwin party chairman: "Don't make assumptions" about how sale will be structured

21 May 2015

bwin party chairman Philip Yea told analysts and investors not to make assumptions about how the potential sale of the online gaming and betting operator would be structured and added that the “focus of the board has been on improving the group’s core business and exploring industry consolidation” opportunities.

With bwin party currently in negotiations with potential acquirers 888, GVC Holdings and Amaya Gaming and planning on reaching agreement within weeks, Yea was asked during the group’s analyst call this afternoon if the board was inclined to selling the company as a whole rather than in different spin-offs according to whether it operated in regulated or unregulated markets.

He said: “Don’t make assumptions (about how a potential sale will be structured). From the start the focus of the board has been on improving the group’s core business and exploring industry consolidation.”

GVC and Amaya’s joint bid approach has led to speculation that the latter would take on bwin party’s activities in regulated markets; while GVC, in a similar vein to what it did at the time of the William Hill acquisition of Sportingbet, would take on bwin’s unregulated business.

As of Wednesday the company had a market value of £850m and said in a statement that it "expects to reach a conclusion over the coming weeks".

Shares in bwin party were up 6% following its first quarter trading update, where it said sports margins had dropped but other non-core activities were up.

The group said current trading was up 6%, driven by a 25% annual rise in sports betting and that it was on target to meet full-year expectations.

Related articles: Bwin.party hit by year-on-year revenue slump in Q1
GVC confirms Amaya link in bwin bid
888 confirms bid for bwin party, Amaya-GVC joint bid rumoured
Analysis: Auction battle underway for bwin party (paywall)