February 10, 2011

Ongame likely to be sold

The Ongame Network is likely to amount to "surplus assets” once Bwin and PartyGaming have combined platforms following their merger at the end of the current quarter and will either be sold in full or offered to strategic partners to take a stake, a Bwin spokesman has confirmed.

He confirmed that Ongame was included in the assets referred to in the merger prospectus as “no longer needed”, and potentially up for sale to "generate revenue which can subsquently be reinvested".

“There will be surplus assets once platforms are unified, and this may be poker. Bwin and Party have strong platforms, and in order to avoid duplication, not all platforms will be needed” , he said.

“Ongame may be repackaged, offered to a potential buyer. Partnerships are also thinkable, where they would take an interest. But no deadlines for this have been decided.”

The spokesman also emphasised that the companies were “not in a hurry” to offload the network, and would perhaps prefer to await US regulation in order realise the highest possible price and therefore maximise value for shareholders through the merger.

“We believe that the trend to regulation in the US is still there. Even though Congress is not dominated by Democrats any more, this does not make it different from our perspective.

“We understand that that the American gaming industry wants online poker regulated, as they want access to that revenue stream. 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.”

Bwin acquired the Ongame network for €474m in December 2005, but was subsequently forced to write down the value of its acquisition following its pull-out from the US in October 2006.

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