India born techie Anurag Dikshit, who struck gold after developing the software which runs one of the world’s best known online betting site PartyGaming, has sold around 19% stake in the UK listed company for close to $300 million. Dixit, who figured at number 701 in the last Forbes list of global billionaires, continues to hold 9% in the company which is valued around $150 million.
He sold two thirds of his 28% stale to institutional investors early this week for £188 million and has disclosed that he intends to sell the remaining holding in the future.
Dikshit is, reportedly, going to donate the money to his charitable foundation ‘Kusuma Trust’, and wanted to move away from the online gambling industry.
Goldman Sachs, acting for Dikshit’s holding company Crystal Ventures, sold 75 million shares at 250 pence a piece. PartyGaming’s shares collapsed 16% and affected even the broader UK market FT 100. But analysts say the selloff would mean higher float of shares and could lead to better valuation.
PartyGaming faced a crisis when US gambling law reforms in 2006 made it illegal for PartyGaming to trade there. In December last year, Dikshit pleaded guilty to violating US internet laws and agreed to forfeit $300 million.
Dikshit is estimated to have gained about £ 540 million since PartyGaming came with a public issue in June 2005 even after factoring in the cost of settlement in US.
The computer science and engineering grad from IIT Delhi, joined Party Gaming around twelve years ago at the age of 25. After writing the software that allowed gamers to gamble online, over the last few years he distanced himself from the company. He had even quit the board despite being a large shareholder and was not involved in its management either.