Jane Martinson and Simon Bowers
Thursday December 28, 2006
PartyGaming is to acquire the gaming assets belonging to its smaller rival Empire Online in a deal that could be announced as early as today. It is expected to be the first in a flurry of deals in the internet gambling sector in the wake of US anti-gambling legislation passed in October.
The acquisition, which is understood to value Empire’s gaming assets at between $30m and $40m (£15.3m-£20.4m), provides the exit that its founder and chief executive, Noam Lanir, has been seeking for months. Long before the ban came into force he had become sceptical about the young industry’s prospects given the hostile stance of US regulators and politicians.
For PartyGaming, the acquisition brings with it Empire’s marketing expertise. The Aim-listed Empire specialises in recruiting punters through its “skin” websites. It receives a cut of revenues from its various gaming service partners.
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