from Follow the Money

The first billionaire spammer?

June 19, 2005

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Economics

I usually don’t begrudge others’ success.

But if this guy is behind the ubiquitous Party Poker spam, I have nothing good to say about him. Nothing. Now that he has made it, he might want to go legit -- and actually pay for advertising.

From the FT:As a non-gambling, vegetarian Hindu, Anurag Dikshit does not invite immediate comparison with other heavyweights from the international gaming industry. In fact, other than a fondness for wearing braces for to hold his trousers, there is little about the moustachioed 34-year-old Indian to suggest he works in an industry characterised by the personal flamboyance and extravagance of other gaming executives.

A colleague says Mr Dikshit "always smiles a lot when he talks". PartyGaming succeeds in launching an initial public offering at the end of the month, Mr Dikshit’s grin is likely to be even broader.

The online poker operator he co-founded is set to be the biggest IPO on the London market in several years. At the top of the pricing range, the group is valued at as much as $9.2bn. As the brains behind its proprietary software system, Mr Dikshit stands to earn up to $865m from shares he will sell in the listing. His 31.6 per cent stake could be worth as much as $2.9bn.

There are plenty of investors sceptical about the internet gaming group’s lofty valuation. Many fund managers continue to question the sustainability of its business model. Some investors say internet poker has all the hallmarks of a fad and doubt whether the group’s growth prospects are as promising as it predicts.

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