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888 Ties up Wink Bingo Acquisition


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One of the world’s largest online gambling firms has increased the size of
its business with the recent acquisition of popular online bingo operation,
Wink Bingo
, in a deal reportedly worth £60 million, that should see 888
grow its market share in the lucrative UK online gambling market.

The acquisition comes just months after fellow online gambling giant,
PartyGaming, beat 888 to the punch by acquiring top online bingo firm, Cashcade.
But not to be outdone, 888 bought its own online bingo business. The deal will
see 888 paying £11m upfront and the remainder in profits until March 2011.

Launched just two years ago, Wink Bingo boasts over 60,000 players which means
it is one of the internet’s most popular online bingo destinations. In the 11
months leading up to the end of November this year, Wink Bingo generated
revenues in excess of £15 million and a pre-tax profit of £1.3 million.

As such, it was ‘ripe for the picking’, in a time when many of the world’s
biggest gambling firms are seeking to ‘bulk up’ their global operations and
offerings through symbiotic mergers and acquisitions. In fact, many industry
analysts believe that online bingo will grow by bringing new bingo fans into the
industry.

Said 888 chief executive officer, Gigi Levy, ‘This is a lucrative deal, we think
it’s a very reasonable price. Despite what some people think, there is a lot of
room for growth in online bingo. In fact, we’re expecting a 20 to 25 percent
growth next year. We also like the fact that Wink is a UK-focused company.

‘We want to maintain our presence in our biggest market,’ continued Levy. ‘In
addition, online gaming is traditionally very male-orientated, but bingo
companies like Wink Bingo have been able to attract a lot of women. Online bingo
is a very social style of gaming as people really get to know each other
online.’

Although 888 has been hard hit by the recession, the company is not going
anywhere. ‘We are one of those companies that follow the economic trends quite
closely,’ said Levy.

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