World Poker Tour Sold to Some Company We’ve Never Heard of

UPDATE: Titan Poker seems to be the buyer

by , Aug 3, 2009 | 3:58 pm

The going price: $9 million (+ a percentage of future profits): on WPT Sale

According to official info (click below), current operations should remain essentially in tact — meaning no friends or colleagues about to get insta-fired — and Gamynia’s big plans have everything to do with getting into the online poker market. All we know about Gamynia Limited (at the moment) is that it’s a company forming part of a privately held investment firm.

WPTE stock climbed 12 percent, to $1.49, on the news.

From WPT Enterprises, Inc.:

WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE – the “Company”) today announced that Gamynia Limited (“Gamynia”), a company which forms part of a privately held investment group with substantial holdings in a range of diversified assets, has agreed to acquire substantially all of the Company’s operating assets other than cash, investments and certain excluded assets. Gamynia will pay the Company $9,075,000 plus a percentage of future revenues earned by Gamynia from the World Poker Tour(R) and Professional Poker Tour(R) brands.

Under ownership of Gamynia, the World Poker Tour and Professional Poker Tour brands will continue all operations including the Company’s television, sponsorship, distribution and licensing units and will under the agreement enter the online gaming market. Gamynia has secured the services of an industry leading online gaming marketing company Hardway Investments Ltd. which will seek to exploit and develop the WPT brands with the goal of maximizing future revenue opportunities.

Under the asset purchase agreement, the Company will sell its television library, including all related intellectual property rights, brand names, trade names, certain assumed contracts and tangible personal property. Gamynia will assume specified liabilities including one of the two corporate leases. The Company will retain its cash and cash equivalents, investments in debt securities and put rights, certain other investment and litigation assets, and future foreign sponsorship revenues from the sponsorship of Seasons Four, Five and Six of the World Poker Tour and Season One of the Professional Poker Tour by PartyGaming and the license of Season Seven of the World Poker Tour to PokerStars. The Company will also retain certain office lease obligations and all of its employee obligations.

The net cash proceeds from the asset sale will be retained by the Company and the Company plans to use the cash to develop or acquire a non-poker related business. The Company does not currently intend to distribute any proceeds from the asset sale to the Company’s stockholders.

30 Comments to “World Poker Tour Sold to Some Company We’ve Never Heard of ”

  1. BJ Nemeth


  2. DanM

    LOL, you didn’t know? You’d think you woulda gotten a cut of that $9 million! I’m sure the check is in the mail. 🙂

    Should be a good episode of The Poker Beat this week.

  3. Tropical Steve

    As always, its employees are the last to know. 🙂

  4. BJ Nemeth

    “Please welcome Dan Michalski of (cue the Wolfman howl), Gary Wise of ESPN, and BJ Nemeth of Gaymnia Limited …”

  5. Tropical Steve

    And the timing of that last post is entirely coincidental. 🙂

  6. Tropical Steve

    For some reason, “Gaymnia” sounds strange when said out loud.

  7. DanM

    Tee-ha … gay mania …

  8. DanM

    BTW, is anyone else surprised by the price? I mean Phil Ivey coulda won the whole WPT in a prop bet! (And THAT would be a story.)

  9. BJ Nemeth

    The price seems remarkably low to me. The WPT brand isn’t worth more than that to PokerStars and the EPT?

    Oh, and I mistyped earlier. It’s Gamynia, not Gaymnia.

  10. Kevin Mathers

    Well, WPTE keeps it’s ~21m in cash, they’re just selling the WPT and PPT. Apparently, they’re taking the $9m from this sale and getting into other projects.

    Also, the other company mentioned in the press release (Hardway Investments) has its share of online poker clients.

  11. Tropical Steve

    Definitely seems low. Would not have happened for that price in 2006.

  12. scott diamond

    I tried calling Kimberly there today to talk to her about some issues regarding Fallen heroes who the WPT has sposored the past 3 years. Her message machine was off at about 11am pst. She is not always in the office but her voicemail usually picks up

    I will interested in BJ’s future posts as he finds out more about this.

  13. DanM

    other poker projects, or non-poker projects?

    so what’s your take on it, kevmath … is this just Berman and Lipscomb selling out? Berman, we know, lost a bunch at least a little money to Bernie Madoff … I could so see him saying yeah, screw this, I’m done.

  14. DanM

    and P.S. have you been able to find where Gamynia is from? I’m trying to figure out if they’re a Euro company, or American.

  15. BJ Nemeth

    According to the article: “The net cash proceeds from the asset sale will be retained by the [WPT] and the [WPT] plans to use the cash to develop or acquire a non-poker related business.”

    Since they are first and foremost a television production company, I’d assume they have their sights set on some non-poker TV shows.

  16. Kevin Mathers

    The mention of Hardway Investments makes it believable to me that Gamynia is European.

    The transaction must be approved by a majority of the holders of the Company’s outstanding common stock. To that end, and as described further below, the Company expects to hold a special meeting of stockholders and in connection therewith to mail a proxy statement to its stockholders that will provide additional information concerning the asset sale transaction and the asset purchase agreement. Certain significant Company stockholders, representing approximately 39% of the Company’s common stock, have entered into voting agreements committing to vote in favor of the asset sale transaction to Gamynia.

    I assume the bolded part is Lipscomb, Brad and Lyle Berman and Neil Sell.

  17. BJ Nemeth

    Hardway Investments is based out of Antigua. Of course, where an online gaming company is “based” and where the legal offices are can be two very different places.

  18. Kevin Mathers

    Just to add, Hardway Investments appears to be the biggest licensee of Playtech rooms (Titan, Tony G Poker, Casino Europa, etc).

  19. Kevin Mathers

    Proxy statement filed today with the SEC

    Gamynia is incorporated in Cyprus

    It looks like the new company will try another WPT online poker site.

  20. MattWaldron

    Only 9 million to get the TV rights, etc. and fund it going forward seems low, but not if they keep net capital that is triple that. On a 5yr value offering (rule of thumb) you could assume it would go for less, but that is a standard for old-school, durable goods, physical space companies, not TV etc. Essentially, they bought branding. I would think that it might not have been shopped around to well, but the mere mention of it being shopped around may have made it tank to the point of damaging the total sale price. ‘Quietly selling it out the back door’ comes to mind, but who knows, this could be great if it becomes more player centric. Keys to success:

    1. Keep current performing staff (Kim, The Hatian Hurricane, BJNemeth, obv.)
    2. Stay player focused and keep learning from experiments like Bay101 and LAPC with Savage.
    3. Agressivly shop for sponsorship and marketing dollars to add to the brand (avoid being a ‘time slot filler’ with pre-sold online poker ads) and put in some ‘value added’ segments that will help elevate the series with the pros. (Tournament of Champs, etc.)

    What is going to happen to or is this basically selling it off to the holding company that ran the online activities anyway? I always thought there was a lot of unused potential there. Then again, I’m a third tier reporter who does not work on that side of the industry.

  21. MattWaldron

    Thanks Kevmath — gah, worst skins I could think of.

  22. Kevin Mathers

    From the proxy statement:

    The Buyer guarantees a marketing spend by Buyer of no less than Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand and Six Hundred and Sixty-Six US dollars (US$666,666) per year during the first 3 years following the date on which the first Website (as defined below) is launched (but in any event not later than a date that is six months after the Closing Date) to market and commercialize the Business and the Purchased Assets. Thereafter Buyer shall use commercially reasonable efforts, given the circumstances from time to time, including with respect to Buyer’s business and the markets in general, to exploit and commercialize the Purchased Assets and to generate Gross Gaming Revenue, Sponsorship Revenue and Other Revenue. In furtherance of the foregoing, it is the intent of the Buyer to create an online gaming site or sites using the “World Poker Tour” and “Professional Poker Tour” brands to drive traffic to such site or sites (“ Websites ”).

  23. DanM

    So obviously it was a deal with the devil!

  24. J

    Nine million is such an incredibly laughable number for a brand like that. The amount is like a third round of start-up funding, which really makes exec management look like a joke.

  25. Jack

    Don’t mean to be rude, but Berman has not recently had a very successful business life. Stratosphere…Ptek, wpt, and LACO’s current price.

  26. Johnny Hughes

    Anybody trying to pump stake money is not a good player.

  27. Johnny Hughes

    Fools for having such a dumb name. Fools for have 666,666 when they could have picked any other number. Fools to think a name is worth 9 mil in this turbulent market.

  28. Poker Shrink

    I am shocked into near silence by this move, not because of the price nor the sale but because I simply do not care. WPT wasn’t making any real money, the formula was stale and lacked a clear business plan going forward. The only piece worth buying or selling were the letters “WPT”.

  29. scott diamond

    I really enjoy watching Tournament Poker on TV.I am not such a big fan of HSP or PAD and I must have seen every episode ESPN has ever filmed on Poker 15 times each.

    Yes I know it’s sick but there are reasons 🙂

    I enjoyed watching the WPT also as well as the PPT. However the FSN people have this show here in LA at Midnight on Sundays who in the world will stay up for that.

    It was on Wednesdays at 7pm a few years ago. The Poker Shrink is right! The only thing valuable left in the WPT is it’s letters and we all are going to miss it on TV.

    I am curious though what is going to happen to Legends and The LAPC next year?

  30. California Jen

    Shrink, I felt the same way. Sure, it was big news, but I cared very little. After working for the company for years and trying to be supportive of their moves the last few years, I’ve found myself not caring because they don’t seem to care. VP Robyn Moder left last year without a peep, most of the poker media has been pushed away from their events, and there hasn’t been a new idea from the once-innovators at WPT in years. Mike Sexton seems to be the only one who still cares.

    While the WSOP continues to try to improve and stay on top of its game, the WPT has fallen by the wayside at the hands of its own founders and executives.