Thursday, July 23, 2009

Independent News & Media sells Cashcade stake to PartyGaming, by Mark Sweney - The Guardian - 23rd July 2009

Owner of the Independent secures €15.3m from digital gambling group as it attempts to restructure its debts

Independent News & Media has sold its 18% stake in Cashcade, the owner of gaming brands including Foxy Bingo, for €15.3m (£13.2m) to digital gambling group PartyGaming.

INM, which earlier this month sold down its stake in Indian newspaper publisher Jagran Prakashan to pay off debts, said that it will receive "incremental proceeds" over the next two years as long as earnings targets are met.

INM, the owner of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, said that the sale of its Cashcade stake was part of its "de-leveraging" strategy as it attempts to negotiate a debt restructuring with investors during a financial "standstill" period.

The sale of the stake is part of a buyout of the entire Cashcade operation by PartyGaming in a deal worth £95.9m. The deal is comprised of £71.9m in cash and a further £24m depending on future profit performance.

Cashcade, which owns brands including Foxy Bingo, Think Bingo, GetMinted, Foxy Flutter and free-to-play website Cheeky Bingo, reported profits of £7.5m in 2008.

"Cashcade provides us with an excellent platform to build a meaningful share of the $1.5bn global online bingo market," said the PartyGaming chief executive, Jim Ryan. "Our longer-term strategic objective is to become the market leader in online poker, casino, sports and bingo."

Last month Channel Five struck an exclusive deal with PartyGaming to launch an online bingo and casino service. (Credit: The Guardian)

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