Montreal-based Amaya Gaming, the parent company of both PokerStars and Full Tilt, have reportedly joined forces with GVC Holdings to make a push for bwin.party, the parent company of partypoker and the World Poker Tour (WPT).
Amaya opened negotiations with bwin.party late last year, but have joined with GVC to help compete with a cash-and-paper offer 888 Holding Public Limited made to the online giant. 888 confirmed they had submitted a takeover proposal.
"The Board of 888 (the 'Board') has noted the recent press speculation concerning a possible offer for bwin.party by 888 and RNS announcement by bwin.party," 888 said in a statement. "The Board believes that there is significant industrial logic in a combination of 888 and bwin.party, benefiting both companies and all shareholders and accordingly, has submitted a proposal regarding the acquisition of the entire issued and to-be-issued share capital of bwin.party for consideration comprising cash and 888 shares."
According to The Telegraph, Amaya/GVC will make a €1.5-billion bid for bwin.party digital entertainment.
The rumour mill has been full of bwin.party takeover talks for months, which Playtech and bookmaker William Hill previously bantered about as potential buyers.
In the GVC/Amaya deal, it is reported the former company would acquire bwin.party, which was former in 2011 when bwin and partygaming merged, while the latter would "have the option to subsequently purchase the poker operations." Amaya would also have an option to buy the bwin.party sports book division after two years.
Amaya acquiring bwin.party's poker assets, which are currently partnered with MGM and Boyd, would likely allow the company to overcome the bad actor/tainted assets concerns they currently face in California and Nevada, and also allow them to gain a firmer foothold in the U.S. by taking over New Jersey operations. Theoretically, Amaya would also take over the WPT.
The Telegraph points out the GVC has experience with similar takeovers, specifically when they joined up with William Hill a while back to break up Sportingbet. In that deal, William Hill took over assets that were operating in legal markets, while GVC took on the assets in grey markets. It's a notable distinction seeing that about half of bwin.party's revenue comes from such markets.
PokerNews Canada will keep an eye on this story as it develops.
For more on this story, visit telegraph.co.uk.