The merger between Austrian group bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and the London-listed gambling group PartyGaming is on track, both companies confirmed yesterday. Speculation had been going around the market about the progress of the merger, which was announced back in July.
The new company will be the largest online gambling firm in the world. Existing bwin shareholders will control of 51.6% the new entity, leaving 48.4% for Party Gaming shareholders. PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan and bwin CEO Norbert Teufelberger will run the new group jointly, and it will be listed on the London Stock Exchange. The merger is valued at about £2.5 billion.
With over 20 million registered customers, the Vienna-listed bwin is one of the largest groups to offer internet betting in Austria and around the world. In addition to sports betting, bwin also offers poker and casino games. Founded in 1997, the group continues to grow, and is now branching out to offer their services across Asia and South America.
PartyGaming was founded in 1997 as a small collection of online gambling sites in the Caribbean, but their flagship site Party Poker was not launched until 2001. The company was taken public on the London Stock Exchange in June 2005.
The merger is expected to be final in the first quarter of 2011, placing the new group in a prime position to take the lead as one of the world’s premier online gambling sites.