LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Online gambling company Bwin.party has asked GVC Holdings to table its best offer for the business after the duo addressed key concerns over the suitor’s latest 1 billion pound ($1.55 billion) approach.
GVC looked to have lost the race for Bwin after it accepted a 900 million pound cash-and-stock offer from 888 in July, but the Sportingbet owner has since returned with two improved proposals to hijack the deal. Its latest was a 1.03 billion pound offer on Aug. 7.
Bwin and GVC have since been in talks over the terms of that proposal and Bwin said on Thursday that it is satisfied that key aspects have now been addressed.
“Bwin.party has now asked GVC to clarify, with respect to its proposal, the best terms on which GVC is prepared to make a formal offer to acquire all of the issued and to be issued shares in bwin.party,” a Bwin statement said.
A source close to GVC told Reuters this month that some of Bwin’s earlier questions were focused on potential cost savings.
GVC had said on Monday that it expected to resubmit a proposal to the Bwin board in the near future and on the same terms made on Aug. 7.
Bwin said that its board’s unanimous recommendation of 888’s offer was unchanged by this announcement. In July Bwin said 888’s offer carried fewer risks than GVC‘s, which was made in conjunction with Amaya Inc.
GVC has since dropped Amaya and now has backing from U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
The Bwin saga is part of wider consolidation in the gambling sector, which has brought a string of deals this year as firms respond to higher tax bills in Britain and tighter regulation by looking to bulk up and better compete in an online market.
On Wednesday Betfair and Paddy Power agreed in principle to a 5 billion pound merger, sending their shares soaring. That tie-up followed last month’s all-share deal between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral to create a 2.3 billion pound bookmaker group.
Bwin’s share price gained 0.5 percent by 0916 GMT, with GVC and 888 up 2.7 percent and 1.3 percent respectively. ($1 = 0.6457 pounds) (Editing by David Goodman)