Wednesday August 31,2011 : Negotiations with potential American partners at an advanced level
 
In a press conference following the release of its latest results this week, Bwin.Party.Digital executives made the startling revelation that the company is in the final stages of partnership negotiations with potential U.S. companies as it looks to secure a foothold in the country ahead of the possible legalization of the U.S. online poker industry.
 
The Dow Jones news service reported that negotiations with the unidentified parties in California and New Jersey were at an advanced level, supporting the view that legalization is likely in the near term.
 
“We have made the decision to target strategic partners," co-chief executive Jim Ryan revealed. "At federal level, we are finalising agreements with a couple of parties positioned nicely to operate in that market. In California, we are well advanced with a particular party. The same in New Jersey, consistent with where we are at a federal level.”
 
Bwin.party digital brands like World Poker Tour-ClubWPT, Party Poker and Poker Room are well positioned to benefit from such a development, he said, noting that the possible exclusion from a legalised market of major competitors like Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker would work for his group.
 
Prompted by a question from one of the analysts present at the press conference, Ryan confirmed that his company is not interested in Full Tilt Poker as an investment or acquisition.
 
“We are not looking at the business and have no plans to look at it,” said Ryan.
 
The company revealed that the sale of the Ongame poker subsidiary was on track, the company having been put on the selling block in June 2011. Ongame posted a loss of some Euro 9.5 million in the H1-2011 period, and the merged Bwin-Party group intends to migrate the Ongame player base to Party Poker soon.