Talks end between Bwin and Party Gaming

"In the end, talks have not led to the desired outcome," Bwin chairman reveals.

Merger discussions between online gambling giants Bwin Interactive and Party Gaming, both listed companies on the Vienna and London stock exchanges respectively, have come to naught, reports Reuters news agency.

Speculation on the talks has been rife in the industry for some months, and will now be laid to rest on the news that Bwin's supervisory board chairman and biggest single shareholder, Hannes Androsch, has confirmed that talks have collapsed.

"In the end, talks have not led to the desired outcome," he was quoted as saying by Austria's Trend magazine this week.

Analysts predicted that a merger between the two giants could set off a wave of consolidation in the fragmented industry.

Trend magazine speculates that Bwin is now looking for a joint venture partner in the United States and is considering the sale of a minority stake of up to 11 percent to an as yet unidentified San Francisco-based company.

This was to some extent confirmed by Bwin's co-chief executive, Norbert Teufelberger, who told the magazine: "Bwin wants to tackle the task of entering the United States with a competent and local partner. We are holding talks to do this."

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