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Bwin Coy About PartyGaming Merger Rumors

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After an article appeared in UK paper the Sunday Times implying that top UK
online gambling operator, PartyGaming Plc and Austrian online gambling
operator Bwin are in merger talks, the share prices of both firms rose by
2.5 percent and 4.1 percent respectively.

However, Bwin seems to be playing the rumours down after it reportedly contacted
international new agency Reuters early Monday stating that ‘it is not in
advanced merger talks with anyone, including PartyGaming Plc, although it does
believe there will be more consolidation in the sector.’

The way the ‘rumour’ sent the share prices of both firms flying indicates how
highly regarded online gambling company shares are as the popular internet
activity continues to grow in popularity around the world. But while a
PartyGaming/Bwin merger may indeed be speculation, expect more mergers.

It’s no secret that most large online gambling firms have weathered the global
economic crises very well. In fact, many have been busying themselves with
symbiotic mergers and acquisitions, PartyGaming and Bwin included. So the
billion pound question is when or if the gaming giants will ever merge?

Consider how Bwin recently acquired Gioco for its online sports betting reach
into Europe, including in Italy, or PartyGaming’s recent acquisition of Cashcade
to enhance its online bingo business. What this means is that on paper both
companies would enormously stand to benefit from a merger.

Said a leading UK financial analyst, ‘This deal could represent a major advance
in the online gambling industry consolidation that has yet to really commence in
earnest, despite obvious scale and synergy attractions. We would regard the
rumoured Bwin/PartyGaming merger as compelling strategically.’

Commented another analyst, ‘Bwin’s obvious strength in sports betting means that
it would be an ideal partner for PartyGaming But even if there is not a Bwin or
PartyGaming merger, there will be further deals. Given PartyGaming’s market
position and management ambition we still highly rate its shares.’

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