Speculations about the real reasons

Recent movements in NetplayTV, regarding the departure of their CEO Martin Higginson, have incited speculations in the industry as per the real reasons behind his decision to move on. Although he said it was due to his desire to focus on his own investment company, it is thought that perhaps the real cause is the spectacular failure of the group's Bingo Stars television action earlier this year.

In terms of BingoStars, which had a six month trial period on ITV, the company shut down the operation, admitting in a profit warning that it had been a costly failure; in addition, Netplay began restructuring process, a part of which was to call on interested parties to put in offers for its Bingo assets, thought to be worth several millions of pounds sterling. Despite the fact that the share price has dropped to the 5p level, it was still possible to raise over GBP2 million through a share placing earlier this month.

A founder of the company, Higginson, who made some innovative deals contributing to the firm’s great growth, will remain in the company to support his management successors in the immediate future, and for further consultation on certain strategies. He will be replaced by Charles Butler, who has almost a year of experience in the company, and prior to this, he worked at Bowman International.

Paying tribute to Higginson in a company statement, Butler said: “Martin has used his considerable entrepreneurial skills, energy, and vision to grow NetPlayTV from being a small entrepreneurial business to a major UK media business. It now delivers its unique converged TV, internet and mobile casino product on both ITV1 and Channel Five.

“It is my job to now build on these solid foundations. With the recent placing successfully completed, the company has been placed on a firm footing, with a clear strategy, and a renewed focus on the core live casino product. I am confident that 2011 will be a very productive year.”

In a similar tone, Higginson responded to his successor, commenting: “The recent successful placing and implementation of our revised strategy has created the opportunity for me to hand the reins over to Charles. I have enjoyed working with him over the past 12 months and I am confident he has the right skills to take the business to new heights.”

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