PartyGaming and Bwin Shareholders ApproveBy: Mark Freedman, Monday January 31st 2011
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One more step was taken in the formation of the largest listed online gaming company. The shareholders from PartyGaming and Bwin approved the proposed merger of the two companies at their separate extraordinary general meetings. First the Bwin shareholders gave unanimous approval of the proposed tie up. Later, on the same day, the PartyGaming shareholders cast their votes in favor of the merger. In the case of PartyGaming those who approved the merger constituted 99.4% of the voters, which is as good as unanimous.
Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger will be the co-CEOs of the merged entity. After the two shareholders meetings were over they released a joint statement that said, "Today's shareholder meetings were a key milestone in the overall process, putting the transformational merger of our two companies well on the way to completion. We are delighted that both sets of shareholders have overwhelmingly recognized the strategic, operational and financial benefits of creating the world's largest listed online gaming company."
This crucial step has taken a full six months. It was on July 29, 2010 that PartyGaming and Bwin officially announced their intent to merge. The new company will be named bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc. It would be headquartered in Gibraltar and listed on the London Stock Exchange. No date has been set for the listing. Current Bwin shareholders will hold 51.6% of shares of the new entity and current PartyGaming shareholders will hold 48.4%. The PartyGaming prospectus that was released on December 23, 2010, said that the brands Bwin and PartyGaming would continue to operate independently as they are doing now. Therefore, at an operational level the players of the two online gaming operators would not be affected.
The benefits that the online players would receive would be of a more indirect nature. The merged entity would be expected to generate net revenues of approximately €700 million, EBITDA of approximately €200 million, profit after tax of approximately €100 million and net assets of over €1.27 billion according to the PartyGaming prospectus. As a result of the merger the synergetic savings would be approximately €55 million per year. €40 million will be achieved in the financial year 2012, and the full synergies would come into effect from 2013.
A strategic outlook has been provided for the merged company. Some of the steps that are being looked at are investment in a joint innovation laboratory to develop new products particularly in the social gaming sphere, developing long-term partnerships with leading sporting organizations, preparing for the liberalization and regulation of the American online gaming market and exploring further acquisitions.
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