Game On for Shuffle Master
Global gaming supplier Shuffle Master Inc. announced on Monday that it has officially reached a deal to obtain the Ongame Network from bwin.party for €19.5m. The deal will also pay “pwin” up to an additional €10m over a five year period following “the commencement of legalized, real-money online poker in the US.”
“The acquisition of Ongame will provide Shuffle Master with world class poker software and an entire enterprise with proven skills and the operational experience that will permit us to begin immediately offering state-of-the-art B2B online products following the closing of the acquisition,” said Shuffle Master’s Chief Strategy Officer Louis Castle.
Additional contingencies include the “completion of certain conditions” such as regulatory approvals “and is expected to close within not more than nine months following execution of the definitive agreement.” Shuffle Master is thought to be one of the applicants for a license to operate in Nevada.
“Poker is a natural fit for our table-centric online offerings and our many jurisdictional licenses present a compelling opportunity for our current and future online customers.”
bwin.party has been trying to sell the network for over seven months, hoping to complete a sale by the end of 2011. However, it announced to shareholders in December that, although the sale was in an “advanced stage,” it would not be completed until 2012. Shuffle Master has been rumored as an interested party for months, and pokerfuse exclusively revealed the deal was close to its conclusion in February.
The network is currently ranked fifth for international poker networks on independent network tracking site PokerScout, and sixth overall. Although traffic will decline notably when bwin players are transitioned, Ongame is an attractive software purchase, with desktop platforms on Windows and Mac and mobile apps on Apple iOS and Android. It also holds licenses to operate poker rooms in the regulated markets of France, Italy and Denmark.