Wynn to Acquire Bwin.Party?

Wynn to Acquire Bwin.Party?

16 Aug 2011 | 23:14 Author: Seth Shafer

Rumors have been swirling the last few days that US casino giant Wynn Resorts might be in talks to buy the newly formed bwin.party company, the largest publicly-listed online gaming company in the world.

Rumors have been swirling the last few days that US casino giant Wynn Resorts might be in talks to buy the newly formed bwin.party company, the largest publicly-listed online gaming company in the world.

It shouldn't be surprising that Wynn might be looking to acquire a large online gaming company, as it had signed a strategic alliance with PokerStars before that company was indicted by the US government on April 15, at which point Wynn completely severed all ties with PokerStars.

Prior to the indictments by the US government several large US casinos had signed deals with online partners, looking to position themselves to profit from a return of legal online poker to the US if federals laws prohibiting it were changed.

The timing of a deal between Wynn and bwin.party would be surprising, however, as the merger of bwin and Party Gaming was only completed in March, and the two companies haven't yet completed the process of merging respective products such as bwin's casino operations into Party Casino.

With the synergies and savings promised to shareholders yet to be realized, a deal with Wynn would seem premature, although a steady slide in bwin.party's share price -- down over 40% on the year until the last few days when the acquisition rumors kicked off and the share price spiked -- might add some impetus to get a deal done.

While Wynn is likely eager to stake its own ground in the world of online gambling, some analysts believe it's still fat too early to start predicting when online poker may be legalized in the US.

Some momentum towards legalization and regulation of online gambling in the US has been built over the last few years yet many roadblocks remain, and the US government's crackdown on online sites earlier in the year seems to point to no quick fix on the horizon for those wanting to gamble online in the US, or for companies like Wynn hoping to profit from it.

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