Online gambling company Bwin plans further cost cuts

LONDON Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:34am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Online gambling company Bwin.Party, under pressure from an activist shareholder to boost its performance, said an additional 10 million euros ($13.6 million) of cost cuts would help it to meet its targets for the year.

Bwin said last month it was looking at ways of boosting shareholder value but denied a report it was considering a break-up or sale of its business.

In a trading statement on Tuesday, bwin said sports betting had benefited from the soccer World Cup but described the performance of its poker and casino business as "soft".

It said the cost cuts, coming on top of a previously announced 20 million euros, would help to offset investment in the liberalized market in New Jersey and the impact of a block on access to its products in Greece.

"We are taking steps to improve operating performance, simplify decision-making, reduce complexity and costs and, as a result, remain confident about the full-year outlook," said Chief Executive Norbert Teufelberger.

U.S. activist investor Jason Ader's Spring Owl vehicle has taken a 5 percent stake in the company this year and has a place on the board. Ader has criticized the way the company has been managed since it was formed by a 2010 merger.

Bwin shares edged lower to 86p by 0800 GMT, having fallen around 30 percent this year.

GVC Holdings, a smaller online sports betting company which is a market leader in Latin America, said it had attracted 35,000 new customers during the World Cup.

"The 2014 World Cup in Brazil has been a resounding success in terms of recruiting new customers and generating increased revenues for the Group on the back of increased but effective marketing investment," it said in a trading statement.

(Writing by Keith Weir; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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