The Cake Next Move
Cake Poker’s move this week to enter into a “strategic partnership” with Free Web Holding Ltd., forming a new entity called Cake Next, continues the company’s move to spin itself away from the ongoing Lock Poker extravaganza.
Not a lot is known within the poker world about Free Web Holding, Ltd., Cake’s new suitor, though there are some roots to follow. A press release issued by Cake (which was recently named to WinCake, and now becomes Cake Next) included the following:
About Free Web Holding
Free Web Holding Ltd. is a licensed Maltese company, active in gaming investments and operations participated by Francesco Merighi, new media and online entrepreneur and founder of goal.com and Goal Gaming Group; Carlo Costanzia, entrepreneur and former founder of Gioco Digitale and Bwin France; and a private foundation.
Merighi, for those who haven’t been keeping tabs, is the person that bones of the all-but-defunct Gutshot Poker last spring, when it was clear that the original Gutshot wasn’t going to be too welcome in Malta (where it was licensed) any longer. Merighi is actually most known as the CEO of the startup Play2B poker network, which also included one of the new landing spots for the old Gutshot offerings.
Merighi may be making a bit of a name for himself in building up a mini online empire from formerly cash-strapped operations, and if that’s the game plan, the deal with Cake seems to fit right in. Cake was long rumored (though never officially declared) to be running low on operating capital a couple of years back, and that’s what precipitated Cake’s very messy marriage to Lock Poker, which lasted about as long as your typical Kim Kardashian relationship.
The whole Cake-Lock thing remains strange to this day, as Lock was reported to have purchased Cake at that time, which turned out to be not be quite true. Instead, Lock bought options into Cake, and when Lock’s predatory practices regarding players caused problems with other sites and affiliates (a recurring Lock Poker theme), Cake and Lock had their little fallout. The impact of not having a pre-nup in place, according to the preponderence of rumors on the web, has Lock and its owners walking away from millions owed to Cake and other former business partners and associated.
So, if you understand that Cake probably wasn’t a gushing fountain of money to start with, the Lock Poker problems couldn’t have helped. And it makes the acquisition of a new business partner with some recent experience in building up a new launch from scratch make sense.
It all sort of fits together.
The latest presser from Cake asserts the the move will allow Cake Next to “further invest in product innovation, building competitive advantage and responding to the needs of current and future customers, in attempt to obtain the highest levels of customer satisfaction. The company plans to create new opportunities while anticipating the evolution of the international gaming markets, regulated and pre regulated, to deliver best-in-class products and customizable B2B solutions. The company will strive to maintain a customer first focus at the center of its activities with a commitment to the highest levels of integrity, responsibility and value creation.”
That’s a whole lot of business-speak, most of which is best left undigested. The new Cake Next also states that the partnership with Merighi and Free Web Holding Ltd. allows WinCake parent Cake Entertainment N.V. to realize new investment, and adds successful industry professionals (Merighi and his companies) to the Cake operations.
The parent entity appears to be undergoing a name change as well, to Cake Next Entertainment, Ltd.
Good enough. They’re still in there pitching.