PartyGaming Plc. absorbs some poker skins, loses one, and will be sued by another

PartyGaming Plc., owner of the world's largest Internet poker room IntertopsPoker, while third skin Coral Eurobet will switch platforms, and biggest skin Empire Poker sues.

It is believed MultiPoker will receive $14.5 million and IntertopsPoker approximately $4 million. PartyGaming hopes these deals will add around 300,000 players to PartyPoker's website. Coral Eurobet, on the other hand, will remain independent and is set to launch a new platform for its players in the near future with PartyGaming's assistance. No other details were announced as to the unidentified platform though industry speculation points at Swedish gaming firm Ongame's integrated platform.

In the meantime, the fate of PartyGaming's fourth and most valuable poker skin, Empire Poker, owned and operated by long-time partner Empire Online, has yet to be determined. Earlier this month the two firms announced takeover talks were taking place but no other details were released. It now seems negotiations have broken down, with Empire Online announcing last week it is pursuing legal action against PartyGaming.

These announcements come on the heels of PartyGaming's recent split from its skins. In October, PartyGaming announced it would be transferring PartyPoker players to a new operating platform, one that separates players who enter from third party sites from those who enter through PartyPoker directly. Empire Online has since experienced a downward slide, having lost a chunk of its player base to PartyGaming and twice issued warnings to investors that 2005 profits will be lower than previously anticipated.

According to a statement released by Empire Online, it is suing PartyGaming because of the "damage caused to it by the conduct of companies within the PartyGaming group in separating the poker system used by PartyGaming players from that of its 'skins'."

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