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PartyGaming Outbids Gamynia for World Poker Tour Assets

WPTE Tentatively Accepts PartyGaming’s $12.3 Million Offer

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PartyGaming may soon become the parent company of the World Poker Tour.World Poker Tour Enterprises (WPTE) announced today that it has tentatively agreed to sell nearly all of its substantial assets — other than cash, investments, and certain other assets — to Peerless Media, a subsidiary of PartyGaming.

Peerless Media will pay WPTE $12.3 million in the deal, as well as 5 percent of the company’s future gaming revenues — a total equal to at least an aggregate of $3 million in the three years following the close of the deal.

Earlier this month, WPTE had agreed to sell its assets to Gamynia Limited for nearly $9.1 million and 4 percent of its future gaming revenue, pending stockholder approval. With a better offer coming in from Peerless Media, the WPTE will pay a $1 million termination fee to Gamynia to opt out of its earlier agreement.

WPTE’s president and CEO Steve Lipscomb hailed the new deal as an important move for the World Poker Tour brand.

“PartyGaming has been an important partner for a number of years, and we are confident that they will be an excellent manager of our brands in the future,” said Lipscomb.

The popular online gaming site had sponsored international broadcasts of the World Poker Tour in Seasons 4, 5, and 6.

“The Board of Directors has determined that PartyGaming’s acquisition proposal is financially superior,” said Lipscomb. “We look forward to working with one of the pioneers and leaders in the poker and online gaming markets to provide a strong vehicle for the WPT brand to continue its global expansion and return to online gaming.”

Just like the Gamynia agreement, however, this deal is not set in stone.

Either side can opt out of the deal if it has not been closed by Feb. 24, 2010. The deal must also be approved by WPTE’s stockholders.

PartyGaming runs PartyPoker, which used to be the largest online poker site in the world before it left the U.S. market after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Even without American customers, PartyPoker remains the fourth largest poker network today — behind PokerStars, Full Tilt, and the iPoker network.

PartyGaming has been positioning itself for a possible return to the U.S. market if the UIGEA gets overturned.

The company agreed to pay $105 million in fines to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York for a non-prosecution agreement in April of this year for “for providing internet gambling services to customers in the U.S. prior to the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (‘UIGEA’) on 13 October 2006.”

That is the same U.S. Attorney’s office that has frozen approximately $30 million in funds from online poker sites and that has indicted Douglas Rennick, the alleged owner of several poker payment processors.

With a well-known live poker tour under its command should the deal be finalized — something both sides expect to have it completed by the fourth quarter of 2009 — PartyGaming will certainly pay close attention to see if Rep. Barney Frank’s poker bills or Sen. Robert Menendez’s proposed poker legislation materialize into law, which could allow them to reenter the U.S. market.