BusinessCompany NewsOn the money: haunting words

On the money: haunting words

Here are some words that must haunt Martin Weigold, the CFO of Partygaming

‘If you read some of the public filings and examine what the senators
involved in congress are actually saying, it is virtually impossible to pass
this legislation.’

Accountancy Age quoted Weigold saying this in December 2005. Late last year
he would have choked when his prediction would prove hollow as US law makers
finally moved to outlaw online gaming.

Partygaming’s share price plummeted leaving everyone open-mouthed with
astonishment. The one thing they believed couldn’t happen had, indeed, happened.

But the recent granting of more than eight million shares to their finance
director is a clear indication that the board wants him to stay on – in fact,
they might even be a little desperate. After all, who would be surprised to hear
that Partygaming’s executives were bailing out? Outlawing the business did seem
unlikely and there must be easier sectors to work in right now than internet
gambling.

But Weigold and the other execs are the people who brought the company to
market. They put in the 18 hour days over six months, produced three sets of
accounts in short order, converted them to IFRS and made sure Partygaming zipped
into the FTSE 100. If you’re interested in seeing the company prosper, despite
the sudden loss of US markets, you need your experts on board.

This is one of those odd occasions when it’s difficult to begrudge the FD and
CEO their money. If they see Partygaming through this crisis, rebuild the
revenues and shareprice, I doubt very much anyone will be moaning about the
incentives they were given to stick around.

Weigold might want to steer clear of anymore predictions however. That might
make life a little bit easier.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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