GVC’s takeover of BWIN is one of the largest e-gaming/e-business acquisitions of 2015/2016 with a deal value of around £1.2 billion. The boards of GVC and BWIN reached agreement on the terms of a recommended offer on 4 September 2015, following months of heavily publicised and protracted bidding wars between several e-gaming giants. The acquisition was agreed by a Gibraltar Court on 29 January 2016 via a scheme of arrangement as BWIN is a Gibraltar incorporated company.
The scheme will see GVC acquire the entire issued and to-be issued ordinary share capital of BWIN.
Trading in BWIN’s shares on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market was suspended on 28 January 2016. Admission of the GVC shares to the Main Market took place at 8am this morning, 2 February 2016.
Both parties believe that the merging of their products and customer base will allow them to pursue further growth in the e-gaming and sports betting industries and cut operational costs by up to €125 million by the end of 2017. GVC's Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Alexander explained that GVC is a "natural partner for bwin.party considering our strong sports betting and online gaming pedigree." This can be attributed to GVC’s experience of successfully acquiring and restructuring e-gaming businesses, the most notable being “Sportingbet” in 2013, a deal in which DQ also acted as the sole Isle of Man legal adviser to GVC.
DQ advised GVC on all Isle of Man aspects of the takeover, including the Cerberus finance facility, GVC’s de-listing from AIM and the admission of GVC shares to the Main Market. The lead UK lawyers for GVC were Addleshaw Goddard. Other parties’ UK advisers included Simmons & Simmons, Norton Rose.
Leading the team at DQ was head of corporate & commercial Mark Dougherty assisted by Jessica McManus and Kirsten Middleton. Director Mark Dougherty commented “This £1.2bn transaction shows yet again that the Isle of Man is the e-gaming jurisdiction of choice, not just for licensed operators but also for their listed holding companies. The takeover of BWIN and the admission of GVC’s shares to Main Market on 2 February 2016 are the successful conclusion of a long but exciting process for GVC, DQ and other advisors. DQ wishes Kenneth Alexander, Richard Cooper and their entire team at GVC great success for the future. DQ has been delighted to share this journey with GVC.”