Online Casino Changes Rock Share Price
The recent departure of Party Gaming’s major founders and shareholders to sell their stake in the online casino firm has worried investors this month. Holdings belonging to the founders in one of the largest online casino companies in the world have been reduced by 190 million shares as a result of the decision. Investor concern was further fuelled by the departure of founders Anurag Dikshit and Vikrant Bhargarva, who both resigned from the online casino firm’s board of directors.
Bhargava offered no reason behind his decision to resign from his position of marketing director, while Dikshit announced he was stepping down from the online casino firm’s board to focus on product development. Dikshit has parted with 57 million shares, reducing his stake in Party Gaming to 28.95 percent, while Vikrant Bhargava has sold 67 million, leaving him with 6.96 percent. A further 33 million online casino shares were also sold by founders Ruth Parasol and her husband, Russell DeLeon, leaving the couple with a 14.87 percent shareholding in the online casino firm each.
While the four founders still own 65.7 percent of Party Gaming, the surprise share sale has concerned major investors, prompting the online casino firm to issue a statement reassuring the public that directors will not sell any more shares in 2006 without obtaining prior consent from investment brokers Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Party Gaming has also moved to counter rumors of further share sales by stating that it intends to remain in Gibraltar with its founders holding a majority of online casino shares until at least 2010. If founders intend to reduce their combined ownership in the firm to less than 50 percent, investor’s will be given one year’s notice.