PartyGaming snaps up Reynolds for IPO

PartyGaming has poached casino operator Rank Group's director of investor relations, Peter Reynolds, ahead of its predicted listing as the FTSE 100's first online gambling company.

As the owner of Party-Poker, the world's biggest online poker business, PartyGaming is one of the companies rekindling the City's interest in dotcoms, and the internet gambling sector in particular.

Reynolds' appointment is further evidence that PartyGaming is gearing up for a flotation that could value it at as much as £5.5bn.

PartyGaming has already hired Financial Dynamics and investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, which has conducted a strategic review widely seen as preparation for the listing (PRWeek, 4 February).

It was expected to confirm its flotation on the London Stock Exchange within days, with the IPO taking place later this month.

Strong results and interest from investors could propel the group into the UK's elite index of the top 100 companies when the FTSE Steering Committee meets in September to revise the constituents of the index.

Launched in 1997, the group recently announced pre-tax earnings of $39m (£21.5m) and is expected to make $600m (£300m) this year. Some analysts have, however, seen the flotation as unnecessary and designed purely to return cash to founders.

Rank has made Mike Davies acting director of IR. Davies left engineering firm Invensys, where he was head of IR, earlier this year.

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