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PartyGaming buys Gamebookers

Plays its hand outside the US

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PartyGaming has acquired Gamebookers for €102m as it tries to reduce its dependency on the US market, where the future of the online gaming sector is unclear.

The acquisition is the first major deal by incoming CEO Mitch Garber since he joined PartyGaming in April this year. Under the terms of the deal, PartyGaming will acquire the business and assets of Gamebookers, which provides online sports betting in 12 languages and has more than 250,000 registered customers in 140 countries.

"The acquisition of Gamebookers is an important step forward in diversifying PartyGaming's business from both a product and geographic perspective," Garber said in a statement.

Until now, PartyGaming's focus and main strengths have been in the online casino and poker market. This latest acquisition will see it widening its offerings to include online sports betting as it looks to concentrate more on the European and South American markets.

"We believe that sports betting will be a valuable addition to our integrated gaming platform, which we expect to provide excellent cross-selling opportunities for our expanding base of customers outside the US," Garber said.

In July, PartyGaming reported a better-than-expected 49 per cent jump in second-quarter revenue. At the time it said it will aggressively step up its expansion plans outside its core US market, which has been in the news recently following the indictment of Betonsports CEO David Carruthers, as well as several others, on charges of racketeering and conspiracy. On the back of the arrest, BetonSports fired Carruthers, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Gamebookers, which operates out of Bulgaria under an Antiguan gaming licence, will be integrated into the PartyGaming brand. PartyGaming said the acquisition is expected to add to the company's earnings per share figure in the current financial year.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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