Founders of PartyGaming to Sell Shares
The founders of the wildly successful PartyGaming brand, including PartyPoker, the world's Number 1 online poker room and PartyCasino, a leader in the online casino industry, are selling a large portion of their ownership in the publicly listed company.
If you've wanted to own a piece of the most successful online gaming company in history, now is the time to buy as 8.75% of the massive company has just hit the trading floor. This news was delivered by broker Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, who values the 8.75% of PartyGaming at nearly $1 billion!
The founders of the online gaming company include Anurag Dikshit (Chief Operations Officer), Vikrant Bhargavar (Marketing Director), Ruth
Parasol and Ruth's husband, Russell DeLeon. All are multi-millionaires or even billionaires following the widely publicized PartyGaming float on the London Stock Exchange last year, where 28% of the company was sold to private buyers. The recent trading will see the float increase to 35%.
The recent announcement does not come as a surprise to all, following widespread predictions from industry analysts that a major share sale was on the horizon following the PartyGaming announcement in May that Dikshit and Bhargavar would be stepping down from the board. Between the two of them, they currently hold almost 40% of the company's shares, worth over $3.7 billion.
Any mass dumping of shares is likely to affect the trading price of PartyGaming shares, as supply temporarily outstrips demand, forcing a likely price drop. PartyGaming felt the effects of this prospect almost immediately, forcing a 17% reduction in share trading price from 115.75p to 6.6p in London morning trading, immediately following the announcement. This is good news for possible buyers, but concerning news for shareholders.
Ed Note: If you can't buy some shares, you can at least play at one of the biggest online casinos in the world, PartyCasino.
France to Interview 888 Former Chief Executive
Online gambling company 888 has been under fire in the last week, as reports emerged that French authorities want to interview its former chief executive John Anderson.
In stark contrast with the general move throughout the European Union to regulation of the online gambling industry, France has stubbornly held on to its monopolistic view of the situation. Last year, French police arrested visiting BWin executives who were in France to promote a sponsorship deal with the AS Monaco football club. The French gambling authorities want to protect the state monopoly of online gambling services, and appear to be determined to aggressively pursue online gambling companies that advertise or do business
Casino Tropez in France.
PartyGaming withdrew from the French market following news of the reports that French authorities wanted to interview Anderson and a number of other online gambling executives.
888, along with PartyGaming, withdrew from the US market last year following the signing of the UIGEA into law. Lawyers for 888 are said to be considering the French interview request.
Industry analysts believe the company's sponsorship of French football club Toulouse – which ended three months ago – was the likely reason for the interview request. PartyGaming has stated they have received no requests for interviews from the French authorities – this may be due to the fact that PartyGaming has not been very active in France in recent times.
The Ireland Online
The IrelandOnline website quoted Arbuthnot analyst Paul Leyland as saying: "888 has been one of the most vocal companies in defending its EU 'free trade' position. This approach is clearly far less sensational than the arrest of the Bwin CEOs but it underlines the fact that national governments do have the ability to restrict offshore operations. We doubt liberal interpretations of EU directives will cut much ice with the French government."
The European Commission
The European Commission is investigating the situation in the European market. EC directives clearly state that individual member states cannot prevent international companies from providing gambling services to their citizens unless they ban all online gambling within their borders. The French and German positions on this issue appear to be in direct contrast with the European Commission. PartyGaming chief executive officer Mitch Garber commented on the French situation yesterday in a preliminary results interview webcast on the company's website. He addressed the fact that the online gambling industry is a fledgling industry and is progressing faster than some regulatory frameworks, and that it was 'inevitable' that the EU would rule for free trade, but that his company would respect the individual regulatory frameworks in the meantime.