Empire Online set to buy Club Dice

Empire Online, the owner of Empire Poker, has agreed to buy casino operator Club Dice for approximately US$40m in a move that will see it take control of its first casino operating licence.

Empire will buy the business and certain assets of Club Dice including its database of over 70,000 active real money players.

The acquisition also includes a license to operate the Playtech software platform.

The firm currently conducts third party marketing for 888.com and the PartyGaming casino site starluckcasino.

But the deal should give Empire a big boost in casino revenues.

Casino revenue for the first half of 2005 at Empire Online was US$5m, compared to poker revenue of US$20.3m.

Noam Lanir, Empire Online’s chief executive, said the deal was part of its stated aims to become less reliant on any one technology platform.

“In Club Dice and Noble Poker we have bought running businesses which achieve a strategic objective of diversifying our base of technology providers,” Lanir said.

The US$40m attached to the purchase, also includes a separate acquisition of the intellectual property and brand of poker site Noble Poker.

Empire will takeover the marketing for the site, which is the largest member of Playtech's iPoker network.

The purchase price is not expected to form a significant proportion of the total US$40m price.

But the Noble Poker deal could alarm analysts that have previously expressed fears Empire could port its massive Empire Poker database onto another platform.

Empire Poker provides around 4% of partygaming’s 2004 operating profit, but is thought to provide as much as 20% of its liquidity.

The deal is still subject to a three month due diligence process and shareholder approval.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2005-08-01 11:53:08

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