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Entain Plans to Sell PartyPoker Amid Industry Changes

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Global gambling company Entain is gearing up to sell its online poker card room, PartyPoker. As reported by Sky News, the move is aimed at resisting activist investors and strategically improving the core operations of the company.

Entain considers PartyPoker non-core to its business, having experienced a significant customer decline in recent years. The potential sale, valued at up to £150m, involves collaboration with Oakvale Capital, specializing in gaming, gambling, and sports M&A and strategic advisory.

PartyPoker was launched in 2001 by PartyGaming. The site has had up to 80,000 players logged-in and was the largest card room until 2006. In 2011, PartyGaming merged with bwin forming Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. In 2016, following a prolonged bidding process involving 888 Holdings and Entain, then referred to as GVC Holdings, the latter bought PartyGaming for £1.1 billion.

Entain Sees Major Change in 2023

In the past months, Entain has encountered some significant hurdles, including paying £585m ($747.4m) in a bribery investigation related to its legacy Turkish business. Additionally, the former CEO, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, resigned in December amid growing pressure and scrutiny, with a focus on M&A and financial performance.

The operator also recently published its full-year 2023 results, showing a net gaming revenue of £4.83bn ($6.15bn), up 11% year-on-year. However, despite this, Entain reported a loss after tax of £936.5m. The loss was significantly higher because of the fines paid by the company during the year.

In January, Entain announced its exit from 140 markets as a step towards adhering to newly implemented corporate responsibilities. The company informed investors and employees that it left areas lacking regulatory oversight, where the possibility of a legal, regulated online gambling market seems unlikely.

In the same month, the company announced the appointment of Ricky Sandler, the founder and CEO of Eminence Capital, as a non-executive Director.

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