Monday, November 13, 2006

Playtech (iPoker) to Acquire Tribeca Network

And more from the mergers-and-acquisitions files...

Today, Cyprus-based Playtech Ltd., the folks behind the iPoker Network, announced that they will be acquiring Tribeca Tables Poker Network in a deal valued at between $75 and $139 million. Going hand-in-hand with Tribeca's own announcement late last week that Tribeca was exiting the U.S. market, the move is expected to create the largest poker network among those entities who will not have a U.S. presence.

It was pretty easy to see that Tribeca's sale was on the wall. Their own release from last week that waved bye-bye to the U.S. even concluded with this line: "The company also intends to make a further announcement regarding its poker network in due course." No doubt.

While the Tribeca sites that choose to continue doing business in the U.S. (e.g.: Doyle's Room, Bowman's Poker) were given a six-month time frame based on the previous announcement, this move now forces their hands: They'll either have to find alternate network arrangements, or be forced to drop U.S. customers against their expressed intent, because after all the existing poker skins on Tribeca are migrated over to Playtech/iPoker, Tribeca itself will be shut down. It is likely that the one iPoker site reportedly still open to U.S. players, USA Poker, is facing a similar six-month deadline to shift to another network or drop U.S. players.

In addition to the existing contracts with all the Tribeca sites, Playtech is also expected to pick up one of the two software divisions responsible for designing the Tribeca network. Playtech will maintain a division in the Philippines responsible for the end-user interface, the "look-and-feel" part of the site, but is expected to nix an option to buy an India-based division that programs the game-engine software itself. Your blogger thinks Playtech has it backwards; the current Playtech/iPoker software, found on sites such as Titan Poker and Noble Poker (sites that we can no longer access), was rather rudimentary stuff. Tribeca was also perhaps the only significant online network offering Badugi. Back to Hold'em and Omaha for all you Badugi lovers.

Just like we said last time, the merger stuff's far from done.

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