PartyGaming – bwin Merger To Be Completed on March 31

PartyGaming - bwin MergerParty Gaming and bwin just announced that their merger is expected to be completed on March 31. The merger is still subject to court approval in Gibraltar, and when it takes place the new company will operate under the name bwin.party Digital Entertainment plc.

Austrian-based online betting company bwin will cease trading on the Vienna Stock Exchange on March 25 with bwin shareholders getting 12.23 bwin.party depositary interests for each bwin share. Party Gaming stated that the depositary interests can then be traded on the London Stock Exchange under the BPTY ticker and the company’s dividend policy will be determined over the following months.

bwin and Party Gaming announced plans to merge back in July, issuing detailed documents to shareholders in December which outlined the planned merger. Shareholders voted on the merger at bwin’s EGM in January, who then unanimously approved of the merger.

The new group will be jointly run by the CEO’s of the two companies, Party Gaming CEO Jim Ryan and bwin CEO Norbert Teufelberger. Both companies will continue to operate at their current locations.

Although Bwin is yet to publish its financial results for 2010, Party Gaming reported a 8% decline in poker revenue and 15% increase in casino revenue in comparison to 2009’s numbers. Party Gaming earned €357.3 million ($498 million) in 2010, compared to €310.1 million ($432 million) in 2009.

With the merger, Party Gaming hopes to re-enter the U.S. market and become of one of the big players again in the online poker arena. According to PokerScout.com, PartyPoker currently sits in third place overall in terms of player traffic, just behind PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

Commenting on the merger, Party Gaming CEO Jim Ryan had this to say, “As our merger with bwin is set to complete on March 31, 2011, we are finalizing our plans to integrate both businesses as quickly as possible and remain confident about delivering the cost and revenue synergies we have already identified in line with the previously announced timetable, with the full €55 million per annum being delivered by 2013. We plan to provide a further update on our progress at the time of the half year results in August 2011.”

The bwin.party Digital Entertainment plc group will focus on the B2C market which is a strength of both companies. However, due to the financial gains resulting from when the merger takes place, the new company will become involved in B2B and B2G endeavours.

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