Churchill Downs purchases Bluff Media’s US assets

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 12, 2012 Posted in Poker Industry News, Poker Site News | No Comments »

The poker world has some more fodder to speculate and ponder, as news came down Friday that Churchill Downs inc. had purchased Bluff Media’s US operations, including both the online and print versions of Bluff Magazine, as well as the company’s blogs, BLUFF POY rankings, and other assets such as www.thepokerdb.com and other domain names owned by the company such as Bluff.com and BluffPoker.com (don’t those sound like perfect online poker site domains?).

The sale came virtually out of nowhere for the poker community, and the obligatory threads on the major poker forums have also sprung into being –with theories from legislation being minutes away to the acquisition simply being a good business decision being debated.

Most industry insiders see the move as Churchill Downs positioning itself for a legalized online poker industry in the US, with BLUFF Magazine being a highly respected and well-branded name in the poker community. In their press release Churchill Downs basically said as much, stating, “(It is Churchill Downs) intention to further expand and build upon Bluff Media’s current content and business model…this acquisition potentially provides (Churchill Downs) with new business avenues to pursue in the event there is a liberalization of state or federal laws with respect to internet poker in the United States.”

According to the press release issued by Churchill Downs, the current executives at BLUFF Media will remain in place; at least for the time being. In a statement on BLUFFMagazine.com regarding the sale the two co-founders of BLUFF stated:

“Churchill Downs has a long tradition of excellence and has continued to evolve and diversify its holdings over 138 years,” said BLUFF Co-founder Eddy Kleid. “This business combination makes sense for us, and it’s an opportunity we’re excited to have”

“We’re extremely excited to be joining forces with Churchill Downs. We look forward to having the experience of their management team behind us,” said BLUFF Co-founder Eric Morris.

While the terms of the sale were not disclosed (BLUFF, despite their excellent brand was considered to be one of the hardest hit poker portals post-Black Friday) the press release did note the assets that were acquired in the sale:

* the industry-leading poker periodical, BLUFF Magazine;

* BLUFF Magazine’s online counterpart, BluffMagazine.com;

* ThePokerDB, a comprehensive online database and resource that tracks and ranks the performance of poker players and tournaments;

* A variety of leading blogs, forums, news and editorial content, and tournament and player rankings designed to serve the in-depth content interests of poker enthusiasts throughout the United States; and

* Various URL’s, including Bluff.com and BluffPoker.com.

This is the second major sale of an online news outlet in the wake of Black Friday, with PokerNewsDaily.com being sold towards the tail-end of 2011.It will be interesting to see how Churchill Downs decides to utilize Bluff Magazine, and what the precise meaning of the “intention to further expand and build upon Bluff Media’s current content and business model” means.

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