April 10, 2009

PartyGaming: post settlement, boss gets share option

PartyGaming boss Jim Ryan has been awarded company shares worth more than £280,000, six months after he was issued company shares worth almost £1.5m.

The shares have been issued under PartyGaming’s Share Option Plan incentive plan, or ESOP, under which Ryan, PartyGaming’s chief executive, has been awarded an annual option over 125,000 shares.

Each option is exercisable at 227p a share, meaning that Ryan’s latest award is worth £283,750. His first award, made in October last year, was over 645,100 shares, worth roughly £1.5m on the same valuation, putting his share options under the ESOP so far at more than £1.7m.

The news follows just 24 hours after Party announced it was to settle with US authorities over its online gaming activities prior to the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006 (see story).

Under the settlement, Party will pay the US authorities US$105m in return for the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York ensuring the company will not be prosecuted for providing internet gambling services prior to UIGEA.

Speaking to eGaming Review yesterday, a company spokesman said that the “commercial logic” of the deal meant Party could now push on with merger and acquisition activity, and the company has already held talks with various banks regarding obtaining capital.

In the City, the settlement meant Party shares rose 4%, or 11p, to 227p at close of business yesterday after earlier highs, despite Party announcing first quarter key performance indicators that day that were all down. Poker revenues were down US$28m to US$53.6m compared with US$80.7m in 2008. Casino revenue was down US$1.6m to US$40.9m on 2008’s US$42.3m, while bingo revenues were down US$200,000 to US$1m during the period, compared with US$1.2m last year.

Under the ESOP scheme, Party’s group finance director, Martin Weigold, has also been awarded an annual option over 337,500 shares, worth £766,000.

The award is his third, after one in May 2007 over 88,360 shares worth more than £200,000 on current valuation, and one in March 2008 over 171,402 shares worth over £389,000. His total so far stands at roughly £1.36m.

The ESOP options vest subject to the growth in the company's clean earnings per share equalling or exceeding 15% per annum in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment