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Party Gaming, bwin Merger Nearly Complete

Business, 2011-03-17, by Ozone

The world's largest online gambling company will be formed in a merger between bwin and Party Gaming, parent company of Party Poker, on March 31st. The company will operate under the name Digital Entertainment plc.

bwin, an Austrian-based company, will cease offering its shares on the Vienna Stock Exchange. Existing shareholders will receive 12.23 depository interests which can be traded on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BPTY. The merger will give bwin's existing shareholders approximately 52% of the newly formed company.

The merger, announced by the two companies last July, is still subject to court approval in Gibraltar. Party Gaming CEO Jim Ryan and bwin CEO Norbert Teufelberger will run the company jointly. Party Gaming will continue running its operations from Gibraltar and bwin will do the same from Austria.

It remains unclear exactly how the two companies plan to merge their online poker rooms. Last month, it was reported that bwin may attempt to sell the OnGame network. In that event, it seems likely that bwin players will be merged into Party Poker's interface.

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