Playtech and William Hill Online (WHO) will be entering talks this month to determine the future of their troubled, but profitable joint venture. Relations between the two gaming powerhouses have been strained over everything from where call centers should be located to more substantive issues regarding business acquisitions.

What’s At Stake

Business at WHO was booming in 2011 and things are looking good for 2012, too. Last year the company took in £432 million pounds in profits, a bottom line that was seriously boosted by online revenues. They’re also deep in the Nevada gaming license process ahead of a play to jump in the legalized US poker market.

Because Playtech owns 29% of WHO, these numbers are likely to play a major role in talks between the two firms. Playtech’s share of WHO accounted for whopping £275.7 million in profits for the Tel Aviv company.

WHO Ready to Move On

WHO officials may be ready to move on from the venture thanks to a clause in the agreement giving Playtech full veto power over WHO business acquisitions. They’re also not too crazy about Playtech’s ongoing relationships with with WHO competitors like Ladbrokes.

There’s a possibility that WHO may offer to buy out Playtech’s share entirely, thanks to a different clause in the agreement giving them the option to do so before November of this year. Buying out Playtech could cost as much as £354 million pounds.

If you’re keeping track of the various strands of this complicated story, you’ll recall that Nevada could have that legal poker up and running by the end of 2012.

The two companies entered into their joint venture back in 2008 with WHO granting Playtech the 29% share in exchange for use of the their online gaming software and support personnel.

What do you think the future holds for the partnership between these two gaming behemoths? Let us know in our Online Gaming Newswire Forum.


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