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Shares in bwin rise after Italian poker move

8 Sep 2009

VIENNA, Austria -- As reported by Reuters: "Austrian Internet betting and gambling operator bwin's plans to raise its market share in the Italian online poker market with an acquisition was cheered by analysts and drove its stock higher on Monday.

"Bwin said in a statement that it is in the final stages of talks to buy all of Italy's Gioco Digitale, one of the biggest online poker operators in the country, ahead of expected further deregulation of the Italian online gambling market.

"The company declined to disclose terms under discussion. Daniel Stewart & Company analyst James Hollins said he estimated the purchase price to be around 100 million euros ($143 million), and expected the deal to boost bwin's earnings.

"'It would be a very good deal,' Hollins said. 'Even without cost and revenue synergies we would expect it to be earnings enhancing by more than 10 percent.'

"Shares in bwin rose as much as 7 percent to 29.10 euros, the highest level since late July. The share has more than doubled since the end of last year, partly on hopes for the fragmented online sector to consolidate..."

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