When you think of big IPO winners in the modern world, you think of Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Meg Whitman (Ebay), and many others. Soon, you will add the names Vikrant Bhargava and Anurag Dikshit to that list. These two chums, who met at school at the Indian Institute of Technology, are set to join the ranks of the world's largest IPO recipient.
Four years ago, the friends were impressed by the amount of money early market leader Paradise Poker was making, and they wanted a piece of the action. Now, four years into their ride, Party Gaming makes roughly $1,000,000 US a day, and the partners are looking to cash in, big time.
Party Gaming has retained the services of investment bankers Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein to assess the feasibility of an IPO floatation. At this point, it appears certain the IPO will happen this year, and it will be the biggest IPO of the year on the London FTSE stock exchange. Based on the initial assessment of the valuation of the float, Party Gaming would instantly be thrust into the top 100 companies on the Financial Times Top100, making it one of the largest 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange...the day the stock goes public. This top 100 listing would put Party Gaming right next to monster companies like Barclays, Vodafone, and Glaxo Smith Kline.
To say this is a meteoric rise would be an understatement. To put the Party Gaming IPO in perspective, the estimated 6 billion dollar valuation would be about 10% larger than the recent Initial Public Offering of a little American company called UPS.
The dollars at stake for Bhargava, and Dikshit are about half a billion, and 1.2 billion dollars respectively. Not bad for a couple guys who four years ago were working at "regular" jobs, Bhargava at Bank of America.
One of the major issues standing between these two men, and their millions, or billion is the clarification of US policy on the regulation of online gaming. Bhargava feels the US Wire act (the act being cited by US authorities the legislation that makes online poker illegal) is not valid with respect to online poker, and that Party Gaming is doing nothing wrong with respect to conducting operations in the US.
Still, it appears that some resolution, or clarification must be created from the US government before this IPO can fully be realized. Floating an IPO with any kind of unsure feeling about the company's ability to do business in the largest market in the world seems like a compromised idea at best.
Either way, at some point the champagne will be flowing at the Party Gaming offices (Party now employs over 1,200 people world wide) soon. Dresdner still feels that a 2005 Party Gaming IPO is immanent. Stay Tuned.
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