Indian Owner of Poker Co hits a jackpot

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Monday, 15 January 2007, 06:00 Hrs
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london: One of the two Indian founders of the online poker company Partygaming hits a jackpot of $100 million. He sold more than half of his holding (7 per cent stake) in the company.

Vikrant Bharava, former marketing director, sold 160 million shares that account for 4 per cent share in the company, at a price of 30.5 pence a share.

Although this transaction will have to be declared within three days, the City speculated that with this sale, Mr Bhargava's stake would fall below the 3 per cent level at which share movements have to be declared.

Shares in PartyGaming, the world's biggest internet poker company, slumped 4 per cent following the news to end the day 1.5 pence down at 32.25pence. The sale happens two weeks after PartyGaming awarded its key executives £40m in cash and options and ditched share performance targets.

Mr Bhargava, co-founded PartyGaming with Anurag Dikshit, a former fellow student from the Indian Institute of Technology, who still owns 29 per cent of the company. The other two founders, Ruth Parasol, who made her first fortune in internet porn, and her husband Russ DeLeon, each have 15 per cent stake. However, none of thema re involved with the day-to-day running of the business.

Dikhsit and Bhargava had made to the list of the United Kingdom's 10 richest Asian businessmen in 2006 at third and seventh positions, respectively, with a combined wealth of more than 2 billion pounds.

The two Indians had become overnight billionaires with the listing of PartyGaming in London in 2005.

US government had cracked on Internet gambling business in October last year, both lost a whopping fortune worth more than $1 billion in a matter of few days with the shares of the company taking a plunge.

Party Poker is the world's largest online gambling site in terms of revenue and number of players and the US market accounted for more than half of the revenues before the crackdown.

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