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Emily D. Swoboda

PartyGaming and Empire Online Settle Dispute

14 February 2006

PartyGaming has further positioned itself to dominate the online poker world by reaching a long awaited settlement with Empire Online that involves acquiring the EmpirePoker business.

Party Gaming released a statement today detailing the terms of the US$250 million (£145 million) settlement, which comes in the form of the acquisition of certain businesses and assets from Empire. More specifically, Party Gaming is purchasing all components of and, including player databases and all intellectual property relating to Empire Poker.

"This acquisition brings our skins strategy to a close and consolidates our leading position in online poker ahead of the launch of the fully-integrated, Party-branded platform," said Richard Segal, Chief Executive of Party Gaming. "The introduction of Blackjack last October marked the beginning of our cross-selling strategy; the integrated platform will enable PartyGaming to take the cross-selling of games to a new level."

Empire filed a suit in December, against once symbiotic partner PartyGaming, claiming breach of contract after PartyGaming effectively barricaded its own poker players from those of its four skin clients, including Empire Poker.

In October PartyGaming launchd a new integrated gaming platform that excluded its skin companies as a way to address the growing problem that Empire controlled about nine percent of the total global online poker market although it contributed to only about four percent of PartyGaming's earnings. After the split Empire was confined to a smaller site with fewer players.

The gaming giant settled last year with two of its other three skins, Multipoker, which they bought for US$14.5 million in cash, and IntertopsPoker, which was made an affiliate of Party Gaming's poker division Empire, however, sought damages in a Gibraltar court.

While the deal remains conditional on approval from Empire's shareholders, which represent 56 percent of its shares, Empire assures that the shareholders are behind the deal.

Empire will no longer be in the poker business, but Noam Lanir, chief executive of Empire, said in a statement that the deal puts the company on a stronger footing and will enable management to focus on future growth.

"We will consider carefully how to use the net proceeds from this sale to the maximum benefit of shareholders," he added.

PartyGaming and Empire Online Settle Dispute is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda