Party Gaming is going Private

Published on: December 1, 2007 

The announcement came down yesterday, changing the plans for PartyGaming and sparking intense varieties of rumor. PartyGaming is the parent company to one of the hardest hit online poker rooms by the UIGEA, PartyPoker an online poker powerhouse. Mitch Garber is the CEO at PartyGaming, and in the announcement he said that he was going to stop any further sales of PartyGaming shares for the remainder of the year. Major rumor number one – PartyGaming is preparing to withdraw from the traded market. The second major rumor, and perhaps an intriguing motivation for the first, is that PartyGaming and PartyPoker are coming to a close on an agreement regarding liability with the US D.o.J.

The main reason why this announcement has generated intense rumor stems from March of this year, when Mr. Garber and the shareholders board came to an agreement. In this detailed agreement there was set aside a predetermined number of shares to be sold for each quarter. Profiting well in June, they sold 4.3 million shares at 39 pence each. This sale alone netted nearly 1.7 million GBP, or 3.4 million USD. From there the shares sold in September drew in a slightly lower amount, at 1.2 million GBP, equal to another 5 million shares sold at 24 pence. As part of the original agreement from March 2007, is that Mitch Garber would retain at least 3.4 million shares in PartyGaming, when the announcement was made yesterday, he still maintained a solid grasp of 8.75 million shares.

Prior to the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, PartyPoker had more than 80% vested interest in the United States online poker market. This has been forced to change as the UIGEA pushed them out of business in the United States. Taking the 80% decline in profit,, the company had to reassess their situation. From that assessment came the plan to share stocks, and the negotiation with the United States Department of Justice (US DoJ). Both steps were undertaken to keep the company from having further negative impact from the forced withdrawal.

If the rumors hold true, the online poker powerhouse will change the marketplace with their removal from the Alternative Investment Market. At one point they were the most valuable online poker shares to hold. Today, the shares valued only in pence are being held on to, with speculation about the status of the company, and it’s further impact on the online poker industry.

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