Brunson to buy WPT?
Jul 29, 2005  
by Greg Cavouras  

On July 7th, 2005 Doyle Brunson shocked both the Poker and economic communities when he took the unprecedented step of launching a bid to purchase 100% of World Poker Tour stocks. As if that weren’t shocking enough, Brunson offered WPT’s ownership exactly twice the current value of their stocks; his total bid came in at around an incredible $700 million.

WPT Enterprises Inc. was founded in March of 2002. Based out of California, many poker fans consider WPT largely responsible for the game’s rise to prominence, as they were the innovators in bringing televised professional poker to market. They also are responsible for the implementation of the revolutionary “WPT Camera” which shows audiences each player’s hole cards. WPT went public in August of 2004; their initial stock value was $8, and the previous high water mark for stock value had been $24.40, however after the news of Brunson’s bid, stock values soared.


To say Doyle Brunson is a star in the Poker world would be the equivalent understatement to saying Wayne Gretzky is pretty good hockey player; the man is a living legend and an icon to the game. In addition to his 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, Brunson also owns and few would argue that he would make a great leader for the WPT. Says Brunson, “"I'm always looking for opportunities to expand my businesses and by owning the WPT, it will help in every area"


The majority of WPT is currently owned by Lakes Entertainment Inc., who own approximately 62 percent of the company. Current CEO and co-founder Steven Lipscomp also owns around 8 percent. Word from WPT executive is they will seriously consider Doyle’s cash offer of $700 million, which works out to almost exactly twice the company’s value, which was figured to be $357 million at the time the offer was tendered.


With the festivities ongoing at the World Series of Poker, Brunson has expressed his intent to pursue discussions with CEO Lipscomb in an attempt to progress towards a deal. Lipscomb, for his part, has said that the board will be meeting to discuss Brunson’s offer. With both men being passionate poker lovers, any possible deal is only likely to benefit Poker fans, and Brunson seems a good fit for the title. It seems fitting that Poker’s “Godfather” should take the reins of Poker’s biggest promotional company, especially at a time when the game is enjoying unprecedented popularity. Stay Tuned!

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