lthough the company which WPT were holding discussions with has not been named, Gaming Intelligence analysts believe that online gaming operator bwin may be a likely acquirer, providing the company with increased poker TV coverage as it seeks to offer its customers further live streaming TV offerings, alongside its popular sports coverage.
The two companies are already well-known to each other having developed a partnership to create the first ever WPT tournament in Italy earlier this year, which allowed bwin customers to bet on the players of the final table while watching the action live on their screen.
As part of the agreement with WPT, bwin subsidiary Ongame Network secured the exclusive rights to offer its partners the chance to run joint qualifiers to the WPT Venice event.
WPT Enterprises has been discussing strategic ways to maximize the value of the WPT brand in the US and foreign markets for some time and has confirmed that it has provided confidential information to certain parties in order to facilitate the discussions. However, with the news that WPT representatives have been in Gibraltar this past week, industry insiders are speculating that a sale could soon be completed.
"We've had discussions with, and exchanged documents with, some companies that have expressed an interest," Steve Lipscomb, WPT's CEO told the Wall Street Journal.
Last year WPT Enterprises reported a 29% decline in revenue to us$ 15.5 million for the 2008 financial year, primarily as a result of lower licensing revenues and a decline in sponsorship fees. Net loss for the year amounted to us$ 12.5 million versus a loss of us$ 7.4 million in the previous year.
So far this year revenues are up 10% year-on-year to us$ 5.5 million in the first quarter, with the company recording a net income of us$ 479,000 versus a loss in the same period last year. The company continues to maintain a healthy balance sheet, with total cash and cash equivalents and investments in debt securities of us$ 20.2 million as of March 28th.