Poker champ makes $700M bid for WPT, stock soars - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

WPT Enterprises Inc., owner of the World Poker Tour television show, has received a unsolicited $700 million cash offer for the company from U.S. professional poker player Doyle Brunson, according to media reports.

Brunson and a team of financial brokers made the bid, offering a 100 percent premium over WPTs closing price of $17.75 Thursday. Brunson, 71, won the World Series of Poker in 1976 and 1977.

West Hollywood, Calif.-based WPT (NASDAQ: WPTE - News) said it was surprised but that board members would review the bid, according to reports.

On the news, WPT stock surged Friday, up $9.83, or 55.4 percent to $27.58.

WPT Enterprises was founded in March 2002 and went public last August at $8 a share, raising $32 million. Its shares reached a high last month at $24.40.

The company makes gaming-themed products and airs its World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel in the United States and in more than 60 markets worldwide.

Minnetonka-based Lakes Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: LACOE - News), which owns about 62 percent of WPT Enterprises, said it is reviewing the offer.

Lakes (Nasdaq: LACOE - News) shares also soared on the news, rising $2.70, or 18.2 percent, to $17.55 in afternoon trading Friday.

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