Is World Poker Tour for Sale?

Published July 21, 2009 by OCR Editor

Is World Poker Tour for Sale?

The Wall Street Journal reports that World Poker Tour chiefs are considering putting it up for sale.

Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Arends, writing his debut column for WSJ Website Marketwatch, reported that World Poker Tour chief Steve Lipscomb told him that the tour had conducted "discussions and exchanged documents with some companies that have expressed an interest."

But he tour's chief financial officer Tom Flahie said that he could not comment, apart from saying that confidential data had been provided "to third parties," Arends wrote.

Explaining the reasoning behind the possible sale, Arends wrote that years of losses have left the company looking for a major broadcaster or online poker company to purchase it.

WPT stock hit a high of $26 in 2005, which had poker legend Doyle Brunson reportedly considering a $700 million bid. But the stock has dropped to a current level of $1.25 and parent company WPE Enterprises is now worth only $25 million.

Arends wrote that critics blame the creation of too many imitations of the tour on TV as hurting the WPT. Critics also say that the WPT never found a way to convert its brand name into a reliable revenue stream, he wrote.

He also lists company mistakes such as a failed venture in China and letting costs slip out of control, with overhead trebling to $22 million between 2004 and 2008 while revenues fell.

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