Are PokerStars buying Full Tilt?
A breakdown in the Groupe Bernard Tapie deal and a rumour that PokerStars are set to buy Full Tilt has set the community airwaves on fire in the past 24 hours. The news started to filter through yesterday with numerous people tweeting and posting the alleged takeover by ‘Stars.
One of the first industry insiders to tweet about the news was Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chilipoker. He wrote: “Pokerstars buys FullTilt for a consideration of $750m, including settlement with DOJ and full balances of players (330m). I'm impressed.”
The news came as a shock to many but at present it is still unclear whether anyone has stepped into buy Full Tilt. What is clear though is that GBT are now no longer players in the game. A statement released yesterday, said:
“Ultimately, the deal failed due to two major issues.
The parties could not agree on a plan for repayment of ROW players.
GBT proposed a plan that would have resulted in immediate reinstatement of all ROW player balances, with a right to withdraw those funds over time, based on the size of the player balance and the extent of the player’s playing activity on the re-launched site. All players would have been permitted complete withdrawal of their balances, regardless of whether they played on the site, by a date certain, and 94.9% of ROW players would have been fully repaid on day 1. DOJ ultimately insisted on full repayment with right of withdrawal within 90 days for all players– a surprise demand made in the 11th hour, after months of good-faith negotiations by GBT.
The legal complications surrounding the deal – specifically, questions surrounding the legality of the forfeiture under non-US laws – also proved unresolvable.
All of the key assets of the FTP companies reside outside of the United States. A non-US court well might regard the purported forfeiture as a “fraudulent transaction” and declare it invalid or deem the acquirer of the assets responsible for all of those creditor obligations.
Given the $80 million purchase price, and the substantial amount of cash needed to relaunch FTP, those issues ultimately proved too substantial to overcome”
The certainty of GBT’s role in the Full Tilt story is matched only by the uncertainty of PokerStars role in the affair. While they haven’t explicitly denied the rumours, neither have they supported them. A press release from them yesterday stated:
“We've had a lot of enquiries and there's lots of speculation on the forums, so I wanted to address the PokerStars chatter. As you know, PokerStars is in settlement discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice. As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on rumours. As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so.” - Eric Hollreiser Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars
At the moment the situation remains unclear but it seems that the poker world may be heading for a groundbreaking change in the coming days and weeks.