It can be argued that WPT Enterprises has had a rough year. Not only did the home of the World Poker Tour cut seven tournaments from its Season 7 schedule, but the show was declined renewal by GSN, shown a 2008 second quarter net loss of $3.9 million, and has seen its stock price dip and now reside below $1 per share. It is a far cry from the company that was at the top of the poker world several years ago, though no one is counting this staple in televised poker out yet. Where there has been a will, WPTE has made its way.
The announcement from Nasdaq on August 19, 2008, did not surprise many who had been following WPTE’s dropping stock prices. In late June, the price dipped below $1 per share, and though it made a minor comeback in early July, it has been below $1 for more than a month. That prompted Nasdaq to send the following notice to shareholders:
LOS ANGELES, Aug 19, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — WPT Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:WPTE) today announced that the Company received a Nasdaq Staff Determination Letter on August 14, 2008, notifying the Company that it was not in compliance with the minimum stock listing price requirements of Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 4450(a)(5) as a result of the closing bid price for the Company’s common stock being below $1.00 for 30 consecutive business days. This notification has no effect on the listing of the Company’s common stock at this time. The Nasdaq Marketplace Rules provide the Company with 180 calendar days to regain compliance, which will require the bid price of the Company’s common stock to remain above $1.00 for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days. The Company will continue to execute its business plan to provide an opportunity to demonstrate value to the investment community and regain Nasdaq compliance.
In essence, WPTE has 180 days to raise the price of its stock over $1 and maintain that price for 10 consecutive business days or be delisted from Nasdaq. Compliance with bid pricing is mandatory to maintain compliance. However, if the consistent decline of the stock price is any indication, the goal may not be an achievable one. There has been speculation that the company can do a reverse stock split to solve the problem, but WPTE has yet to make a comment or indication of its intentions.
On the surface, the World Poker Tour seems to be keeping its head above water. After being dropped from GSN, the company signed a deal for its seventh season of shows to be aired on Fox Sports, an agreement that also includes a different show that will be based on winners from the ClubWPT website competing in a live tournament setting. Such steps forward keep the World Poker Tour in viewers living rooms with primetime broadcasts and relevant in the poker community, but the bottom line of the worth of WPTE as a public company is coming into question more often in 2008 than ever before. What WPTE does to overcome this obstacle remains to be seen.