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European Private Equity Fund Targets 888 Holdings


The online gaming industry may be on the verge of another multi-million operation, as the private equity group Permira is reportedly in negotiations to acquire 888 Holdings.

Although the two companies haven't issued any official statement yet, rumors about ongoing negotiations were reported by the Wall Street Journal and The Independent.

Quoting people reported to be familiar with the situation, the WSJ wrote, "British private-equity firm Permira sees the online gaming company as a potential target and may consider a bid itself."

Two of the people questioned by the financial newspaper explained, "Permira is actively looking at 888, though any interest is preliminary."

The news regarding Permira's interest in 888 Holdings came right the same day when the private equity firm announced it was in the process to offload some €850 million worth of shares in German fashion house Hugo Boss, a company it spent €5.3 billion on a controlling stack in 2007.

According to the WSJ, Permira's interest in the parent company of online gaming and betting sites as 888poker, 888casino, and 888sport is motivated by the perspective to join a lucrative market that has finally been stabilized with the introduction of the UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill.

"A new licensing and tax regime for online gaming in the UK is clearing the air around the sector," the WSJ wrote. "And this makes one of the industry’s biggest players, 888 Holdings PLC, a potential buyout target."

This, however, is not the first time that other companies set their eyes on 888 Holdings, as back in 2011 Ladbrokes was reportedly interested in taking control of 888.

Should the negotiation lead to a takeover, 888 would become the third major online gaming company to be taken over in the last four months. Earlier this year, Amaya Gaming inked a $4.9 billion deal to take control of the Rational Group, and in July Italy's lottery giant GTECH bought Las Vegas-based slots producer IGT for $6.4 billion.

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