UPDATE 1-Bwin.Party expects conclusion to takeover talks in 'coming weeks'
* Company says discussions enter "a further stage"
* At least two bidders have declared interest in Bwin
* Company says margins better than expected, revenue down
* Shares rise as much as 6 percent (Adds analyst comment, details, background, share price)
By Esha Vaish
May 21 (Reuters) - Online gambling company Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc, the subject of competing takeover bids, said it expects in coming weeks to "reach a conclusion" as discussions with suitors enter a new stage.
Bwin's London-listed shares rose as much as 6 percent on Thursday after the company also reported better-than-expected margins for the first quarter, helped by careful cost management.
Higher taxes and tougher regulations in Britain and other big European markets have taken a toll on gambling companies and raised the possibility of consolidation in the industry.
Bwin, which put itself on the block last year, is at the centre of a takeover battle between at least two bidders: smaller peer 888 Holdings Plc and a partnership between GVC Holdings Plc and Canada's Amaya Inc. Continued...