Mangas Gaming Buys 60% Stake in GigaMedia’s Everest

16th December 2009 11:47 am GMT

France's Mangas Gaming Group has today acquired 60% of GigaMedia Limited's online gambling software business, which includes the Everest Poker platform. The total size of the deal will be calculated based on the fair market value of the business in early 2012, with Mangas paying an initial $100 million consideration at closing.

The strategic alliance will see Everest Poker joining Mangas Gaming as its primary poker site, with all Mangas poker players moving to the Everest Poker platform. Additionally, Everest Poker will be able to benefit from Mangas' BetClic sports betting offering, strongly positioning the alliance in the soon-to-be-regulated French gaming market.

The migration of players to the Everest poker platform will come at the expence of Playtech's iPoker network, home of Expekt, and Boss Media's IPN, home of betclic and bet-at-home.

"We are thrilled to have Everest Poker join the Mangas Gaming family with its media savvy and land-based casino shareholders and well known platform of gambling brands," said GigaMedia CEO Arthur Wang. "By partnering with Mangas, we can realize the full value of our poker and casino software business and share the enormous upside of this powerful combination in the large European community.

"This strategic alliance will create an online gambling powerhouse in Europe with top poker, sports betting and casino offerings," said Wang.

Under the terms of the deal, the 60% sale will be set at the fair market value of the business as of early 2012. Mangas will make payment in two parts, an up-front cash payment of US$100 million at closing and a final earn-out payment after the 2012 valuation based on the fair market value of the business at that time.

"Everest is an excellent fit with our group and the partnership will benefit both companies and our customers," said Mangas CEO Isabelle Parize. "Everest expands our presence in the world of poker with reliable, trusted solutions and a leading brand, strengthening our position as a major European player in both the poker and sports betting fields."

GigaMedia will continue to hold the remaining 40% interest in the gaming software business with a put option to sell all or part of it to Mangas beginning in 2013. Beginning in 2015, Mangas will have a call option on any remaining shareholding held by GigaMedia.

For both GigaMedia's put option and Mangas's call option, the price will be determined based upon the fair market value at the time.

"The clear trend in Europe toward individually regulated markets and the already competitive marketplace means there are tremendous advantages to having a European partner like Mangas," said GigaMedia President Thomas Hui. "Mangas Gaming's unrivalled local knowledge and ability to leverage its high value strategic shareholders offers tremendous upside."

The transaction is subject to relevant regulatory and gaming authority approvals and other customary conditions on close. GigaMedia expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2010 resulting in a substantial one-time gain upon the sale.

GigaMedia said further that it would discuss the transaction and the company's financial results on Monday December 21st, with industry investors finally able to analyse its financial performance after the company failed to provide any updates since publication of its first quarter results earlier this year.

Shares in GigaMedia Limited (Co. Profile) (NASDAQ:GIGM) hit a 52-week low of $3.49 in New York last week and are currently trading up 3.00% today at $3.79 per share.

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