PokerNews Confirms Rumors of PokerStars Ownership9 months ago
While kids everywhere will be going door-to-door today wearing masks and costumes that hide their real identity, PokerNews chose the Halloween season to do the opposite - removing the mask of true ownership and revealing that PokerStars "own a large majority of the business."
Rumors as to who was pulling the strings behind PokerNews (iBus Media) had long been making the rounds among those who follow poker. The rumors have finally been laid to rest by yesterday's post at the popular poker news/affiliate site.
Admitting to "strong growth over the last few years" that has led to a desire to "increase the speed of that growth," iBus Media is now in the midst of "considering an acquisition strategy," according to the October 30, 2017 post. As such, PokerNews felt that this was "the appropriate time to ensure there was clarity around the ownership of our business."
History of PokerNews
Outspoken poker pro and politician Antanas Guoga (Tony G) reportedly purchased the PokerNews.com domain for $6K in 2002. He proceeded to create a hugely successful affiliate site that benefited from the poker boom that began in 2003 and saw tons of players depositing at online poker sites.
Guoga began incrementally selling off his iBus Media shares to the Stars Group since 2010. He "has now exited" and apparently has no further stake in the company.
What It Means to Readers and Players
So how does this new ownership revelation effect readers of poker news who are hoping to get unbiased and honest reporting? Well, that depends on who you talk to, I suppose.
PokerNews claims that "less than 5% of iBus’s affiliate revenues" are derived from PokerStars brands and that “iBus has always maintained its independence and will continue to do so," according to the company's media director, Jon Squires. "PokerNews will continue to be the voice of players and a promoter of online poker."
But that independence is fraught with blurred lines, according to at least one former PokerStars live reporter, Lee Davy, who writes for CalvinAyre.com.
"I was told to place particular emphasis on PokerStars players," Davy said. "I was also told to put less focus on the competition."
It was years ago that Davy worked the tournament poker rooms for PokerNews. Perhaps the instructions to tilt coverage in favor of PokerStars and its ambassadors is no longer the rule at iBus Media?
That's up to readers and poker players to decide. Trick or treat.
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