888 gets green light to buy Wink Bingo

Online gaming firm 888 today announced plans to buy internet rival Wink Bingo for up to around £60m (€67.1m) as it looks to step up its UK presence in the sector.

Pacific Poker owner 888 said the deal would see it pay Wink’s current owners, Daub, a base price of £11m (€12.3m), plus a sum based on earnings in the year to March 2011, with the total capped at £59.7m (€66.8m).

Chief executive Gigi Levy said the acquisition would help 888 expand its online bingo footprint “in the lucrative UK market”.

The firm also issued a trading update and said it was confident of meeting management expectations for the full year.

Wink, which runs online bingo networks including Wink Bingo, Posh Bingo and Bingo Fabulous, had over 60,000 active players in October this year, which 888 said made it one of the most popular online bingo sites.

Its sites already operate through 888’s Dragonfish bingo platform.

The firm said completion of the deal was dependent on certain factors, including obtaining the required consents.

Wink, which was launched in early 2008, generated revenues of £15m (€16.8m) and pre-tax profits of £1.3m (€1.5m) in the 11 months to November 30 this year.

In August, 888 reported pre-tax profits of $14.9m (€10.4m) in the six months to June 30, compared with $26.3m (€18.4m) in the same period last year. It said the half-year performance was solid against the background of weak consumer sentiment and volatile currency movements.

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