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bwin and PartyGaming merger finally on

Shares in the two firms jumped at least 20% yesterday with the long-awaited announcement of the merger.

Party Gaming, bwin Plan Gambling Merger

PartyGaming PLC plans to merge with Austrian sports-book operator Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, creating the world's largest listed online-gambling business.

The new company will be owned 48.36% and 51.64% by PartyGaming and Bwin shareholders respectively and will be listed on the London Stock Exchange. It would have a combined net gambling revenue of €682 million ($885.6 million) and combined earnings before interest, taxes and amortization of €196 million, PartyGaming said. Shares in PartyGaming jumped 20% Thursday, valuing the company at £1.26 billion ($1.96 billion), while Bwin shares soared 25% on the Vienna Stock Exchange, valuing the company at €1.58 billion.

Jim Ryan, Chief Executive of PartyGaming, and Norbert Teufelberger, co-CEO of Bwin, will run the merged group as co-chief executives. Mr. Teufelberger said his co-CEO at Bwin, Manfred Bodner, is to leave his position and become a nonexecutive director. Mr. Ryan said the merger will likely result in a newpublicly traded name with Bwin ultimately delisted.

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