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Major Merger Online

PartyGaming and bwin will create online gaming's largest company

The new year will finally see the consummation of the merger between bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming, which will create the largest publicly listed online gaming company. Together, the joined company will have unaudited net revenues of €696.2 million, EBITDA of €193.7 million and profit after tax of €99.4 million.

The combined company will be named bwin.party digital entertainment plc. Current bwin shareholders will own 51.7 percent of the shares, PartyGaming shareholders 48.3 percent.

Norbert Teufelberger, co-CEO of bwin, says the merger of the two online gaming giants will produce results immediately.

“The online gaming industry is going through a phase of consolidation, making market players’ size and geographic diversification more crucial than ever,” he says.

Like PartyGaming, bwin.party will have its headquarters in Gibraltar and be listed on the London Stock Exchange. In addition to its strong B2C business, the company plans to expand into B2B and B2G services.

“Our many years of online know-how, healthy balance sheet, and one of the largest pools of poker liquidity in any regulated market will make us an attractive business partner,” says Teufelberger, who will head up the company with Jim Ryan, PartyGaming’s CEO.

The merger is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011.

As if to confirm Teufelberger’s consolidation prediction, 888.com and Ladbrokes are reportedly discussing a merger. Although 888 has lost some of its luster over the last several years, Ladbrokes could use the platform to make its online presences stronger. But because 888 has not reached an agreement with the U.S. on prosecution over UIGEA violations, as bwin and PartyGaming have done, it’s unclear how that would affect a potential merger.

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