News: Empire Poker to Sue PartyGaming



Empire Poker to Sue PartyGaming

November 21, 2005
Michael Friedman

In what might possibly be the most interesting story of the year in poker so far, Empire Online, the former 'skin' of party poker, has decided to take legal action against Party's parent company, PartyGaming.

According to a recent report from Rueters, Empire Online is preparing legal action because of the breakdown of recent negotiations for PartyGaming's acquisition of Empire Online.

According to Empire's head of mergers and acquisitions, Andrew Burnett, Empire is posturing itself for a long legal battle with online poker's giant, PartyGaming. "We're not taking a decision to litigate lightly, but having taken that decision on good legal advice, then we will pursue it very vigorously."

PartyGaming however, is taking a much more relaxed attitude as they feel its not a legitimate threat. According to PartyGaming's communications director John Sheppard, "They're clutching at straws."

PartyGaming recently took the wind from beneath Empire Online's wings and sent its value crashing when Party decided to eliminate its relationship with all of its "skins" last month. After separating itself from the skins, PartyGaming then bought out two of the skins and said goodbye to a third, Coral Eurobet.

According to one London analyst, this may be a case of sour grapes. "If the two biggest players in the industry (Sportingbet and PartyGaming) have looked at it and reached no deal, then the chances are Empire is misguided about its own value."

Originally Sportingbet tried to purchase Empire for 269p per share, but the deal fell through. Unfortunately for Empire, the valuation of the stock was dramatically lower by the time PartyGaming made its offer of 60p per share and Empire could not recommend the offer to its shareholders.
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