London-listed operator GVC Holdings has said that it is considering its options regarding a potential deal to acquire bwin.party digital entertainment, despite rival bidder 888 having a lower offer for the business accepted last week.

GVC originally looked to be in pole position to acquire the struggling business, after bwin.party agreed to work towards finalising an offer following GVC’s Amaya-backed bid of 110p per share. However, it was usurped by 888, despite a lower offer of 104.09 per share revealed last week.

The board of bwin.party said at the time that while GVC's proposal offered many attractive features and a modest premium to 888’s offer, it also carried additional execution risks.

"The bwin.party directors have concluded, after further work with GVC and its advisers and after careful consideration, that 888’s offer provides a higher degree of certainty for bwin.party shareholders and that GVC’s modest incremental premium to 888’s offer is not sufficient for the bwin.party board to recommend GVC’s proposal over 888’s offer," the company said.

bwin.party chairman Philip Yea explained that the 888 deal would generate “substantial financial synergies” for both shareholders, and create “create a strong player with the breadth of product, brands and geographic coverage to grow faster than either business would be able to achieve stand-alone.”

The GVC bid, which would have valued bwin.party at £906.5m, was comprised of GVC shares and cash provided by Amaya, would have seen the former acquire the sportsbook business and the latter strengthen its poker offering with Partypoker.

However while GVC has again stressed that there can be no certainty that an offer for bwin.party will be made by the company, it confirmed that it is considering its options, and will update shareholders accordingly. 

It seems doubtful that a higher bid would prove successful for GVC, however speculation is mounting that GVC may make one last bid without the support of Amaya. Although this would mean raising significant funds to carry out the deal.

Shares in GVC Holdings plc (Co.Data) (LSE:GVC) have climbed 2.69 per cent to 420.50 pence per share in London this morning following the announcement, while bwin.party digital entertainment plc (Co.Data) (LSE:BPTY) shares are currently trading up 0.10 per cent at 105.80 pence per share. Shares in 888 Holdings plc (Co.Data) (LSE:888), meanwhile, have fallen 0.73 per cent to 169.75 pence per share. 

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