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PartyGaming Negotiates to Buy Empire Poker

Both Sites Confirmed That a Deal Is in the Works

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PartyGaming today confirmed that it is in talks to buy rival poker network Empire Online.

The online poker company says it's in "advanced discussions" with Empire Online in an announcement in the wake of media speculation that occurred earlier this week. The two companies have been repeatedly in talks about a sale during the last year.

In an announcement by Empire, it says that it will rid itself of all gambling-related assets and then become an investing company. It says the proceeds from the sale would be used with the company's existing bankroll of approximately $250 million to invest opportunistically in both private and public businesses.

Empire Poker's games are already powered by PartyGaming's software engine, and the site has many poker "skins" that serve thousands of players.

Shares on the London Stock Exchange for Empire Online closed down 4 percent today at 42 pence, while PartyGaming's shares closed up 7 percent at 32 pence.