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    Default PartyGaming, Bwin in merger talks

    Two online gambling giants, bwin and PartyGaming, are in merger talks in a deal that could create a £2 billion internet gambling behemoth.

    According to The Sunday Times, the two sides have been holding talks since the summer.

    Speculation about consolidation in the online gaming sector has been rife in recent months. A tie-up between PartyGaming and Bwin would be logical given the former’s ambition to grow its presence in sports betting, an area where the Austrian group has particular strength.

    PartyGaming, based in Gibraltar, is best known for offering poker and casino games. It seems likely that if the two businesses can agree a tie-up, the deal would be structured as a merger of equals.

    One source cautioned that discussions were at an early stage and there was no certainty that a deal would be agreed. “Everyone in the industry is talking to everybody else,” said the source.

    Shares in PartyGaming closed on Friday at 256Åp, valuing the business at £1 billion. Bwin, which is listed on the Vienna stock exchange, has a market value of €1.3 billion (£1.2 billion).

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