September 04, 2015 board accepts GVC takeover bid, withdraws 888 recommendation

The board of this (Friday) morning accepted a takeover bid from GVC Holdings and withdrew its earlier recommendation to accept an offer from rival online gaming company 888 Holdings.

The buy-out offer from GVC of 25 pence in cash and 0.231 new GVC shares equates to about 129.64 pence per share in, tagging the total value of the deal at just over £1bn (€1.4bn/$1.6bn).

The offer is at a 12.5% premium to's closing share price on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday and a 45% premium to its stock price since the company first started receiving takeover proposals in May.

“In recommending the offer from GVC, the board has taken into account many factors including, but not limited to, the headline value per share and the consideration being offered, the level, timing and deliverability of the financial synergies to be generated and the enlarged Group's growth strategy in an increasingly competitive marketplace,” chairman Philip Yea said.

“As a result of these and other factors, including the proven track record of GVC's management team in creating substantial value for shareholders, after a carefully managed and diligent review process, the board has withdrawn its recommendation for the 888 offer and is now advising shareholders to vote in favour of the offer from GVC.”

Kenneth Alexander, chief executive officer of GVC, added: “GVC is the natural partner for considering our strong sports betting and online gaming pedigree.

“Sports betting is in our DNA and leveraging GVC's experience of successfully acquiring and restructuring online gaming businesses, notably Sportingbet in 2013, we look forward to merging the two operations to deliver long term value for combined shareholders.

“GVC has been working closely with's management and has identified many talented individuals with whom it looks forward to working to ensure the future success of the enlarged business.” had accepted a £900m cash-and-share offer from 888 in July, despite being presented with a higher offer from GVC.

Earlier this week, announced that it had received a revised takeover proposal from 888, but then GVC chairman Lee Feldman insisted that his company was “not prepared to walk away” if his company’s bid was rejected in favour of a lower offer from 888.

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