03/06/2012 : SHUFFLE MASTER ACQUIRES ONGAME POKER NETWORK (Update)
 
Rumour becomes fact with announcement from equipment supplier
 
Land gambling equipment supplier Shuffle Master Inc turned rumour into fact Monday with its announcement that it has inked an agreement to acquire the Ongame Poker Network from Bwin.Party digital entertainment.
 
The rumour that a deal was in the works has been circulating for the past month or more
 
Ongame is one of the world's largest poker providers to online gaming operators ("business-to-business" or "B2B"), with a global network that includes more than 25 of the i-gaming industry's strongest brands and operators, as well as regional networks in France and Italy, a press release from Shuffle Master claimed.
 
A company spokesman said that the acquisition progresses Shuffle Master's strategy of expanding its online product offerings to capitalise on regulated online gaming, while operating purely as a B2B provider and not providing gaming content directly to players.
 
Gavin Isaacs, chief executive officer of Shuffle Master commented: "Our acquisition of Ongame will allow Shuffle Master to offer a scalable, proven and secure solution for online poker.  Immediately upon closing the transaction, we will be able to begin leveraging all of Ongame's experience and expertise in i-gaming."
 
"I am confident that Ongame will fit into our ongoing interactive initiatives of delivering our brands to online gaming operators, partner web sites, social networks and mobile platforms. Poker is a natural fit for our table-centric online offerings and our many jurisdictional licenses present an opportunity for our current and future online customers."
 
Shuffle Master will pay Bwin.Party Services (Austria) GmbH Euro 19.5 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments at closing, and may pay up to Euro 10 million in cash within five years of closing, contingent upon the commencement of legalised, real-money online poker in the U.S. within such period.
 
The Euro 10 million contingent payment decreases through the five-year period.  Shuffle Master expects to fund the transaction with cash on hand or availability on its existing senior secured revolving credit facility.
 
Peter Bertilsson, managing director of Ongame said: "We believe that our experience and expertise in the European market is a natural fit with Shuffle Master's considerable commitment and history in developing innovative games and products for land based operators.  I am confident that together, our organizations are going to be able to develop the very best in new and innovative solutions for the i-gaming market."