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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Bang the Dino

THE world’s biggest internet poker company will today announce the appointment of advisers to a possible flotation on the London Stock Exchange that could value the business at about £3 billion, The Times has learnt.

It is understood that PartyGaming, the Gibraltar-based group that launched the PartyPoker website in 1997, will reveal that it has appointed Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Investec Securities to advise the company on its “strategic options”.

Despite the likelihood of a place in the FTSE 100, the big banks such as Merrill Lynch, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank declined the opportunity to be involved, eschewing fees of an estimated £20 million.

The difficulty is that PartyGaming’s biggest market is America, where the legality of internet gambling remains in doubt.

Although poker, where players are pitched against each other rather than against the house, is less of a grey area, the big banks are still wary of upsetting regulators such as Eliot Spitzer, New York’s attorney-general.