Posted 2/8/11 : Media speculation that Ongame may be put on the market confirmed
Creating something of a stir Tuesday, the Bloomberg business news agency reported that the merger between Party Gaming plc and Bwin Interactive could result in the online poker network and software developer Ongame being sold off.
The report was later confirmed by an unnamed Bwin spokesperson, who said that the respected online poker company may be sold either lock, stock and barrel or offered to strategic partners, as it could be regarded as a ‘surplus asset' once the poker platforms of the merger principals were rationalised.
The spokesperson stressed that there was no immediate urgency for such a sale.
Ongame was acquired by Bwin in 2005 for Euro 475 million, but the acquisition was followed by the drastic impact in late 2006 of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which resulted in many top internet gambling companies – Bwin among them – exiting the US.
The merger partners could play a waiting game, given the possibility of a higher sales price if the US market continues to show promise for legalization initiatives,
“We understand that the American gaming industry wants online poker regulated, as they want access to that revenue stream," the spokesperson noted. "Regulatory developments in the US would raise interest in these assets. But we haven’t yet established any firm deadline, and will look at all options.”