According to a statement to shareholders summarising the AGM meeting held on June 30, bwin.party have formally commenced the process of selling the European network.
“Having taken some initial soundings from interested parties, we have commenced a formal process to sell Ongame’s Business-to-Business operation,” reads the statement, available online at bwinparty.com.
“We expect that any sale will be completed by the end of the year,” it adds.
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc, born in March 2011 through a merger between PartyGaming and bwin, is the world’s largest publicly trading online gambling company. It currently consists of two separate poker networks: PartyPoker – that operates a few network “skins” including the World Poker Tour brand and EmpirePoker – and Ongame, a network of over 25 skins including bwin, BetFair and Betsson.
Prior to the sale, it is expected that players on bwin will be moved to the PartyPoker network. Many industry analysts estimate that 40% of the OnGame network are bwin players. If accurate, based on numbers on PokerScout this would result in PartyPoker increasing 20% in size.
Acting as a useful marker for the constantly-changing online gaming industry, six weeks prior International Game Technology (IGT) purchased a controlling stake in Swedish Entraction Holding AB. The sale valued the online gaming operator at close to $130m. Accounting for a 40% reduction in Ongame, the two poker networks are of comparable size.
Despite the expected blow to traffic when bwin players move, there are positives on the horizon for Ongame. SportingBet, owner of the Paradise Poker brand, announced last month they would add Ongame Network alongside its existing poker offerings on the Boss Media network.