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Pokerstars to buy Full Tilt Poker

Discussion in 'Casinomeister's Poker Room' started by jetset, Apr 24, 2012.

    Apr 24, 2012
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    POKERSTARS TO ACQUIRE FULL TILT POKER (Update)

    Shock news confirmed by withdrawal statement from Groupe Bernard Tapie

    Just when it appeared that the French firm Groupe Bernard Tapie was about to re-launch the moribund Full Tilt Poker after almost a year of negotiating and manouevreing, everything changed Tuesday with the news that the world's biggest online poker operator, Isle of Man-based Pokerstars, was to acquire FTP.

    Tuesday morning saw rumours start to spread that Pokerstars had reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice, paving the way for the acquisition to go ahead for a reported total cost of $750 million and for US players to at last get paid. The DoJ deal is understood to be conditional on the payment of players, although neither party had made any official comment late Tuesday afternoon.

    As the day wore on the speculation intensified on information sites like Pokerfuse, Twitter and twoplustwo, generally corroborating that Pokerstars is in the take-over seat.

    Some numbers came from a Twitter posting by Chiligaming chief exec Alex Dreyfus, who claimed that $330 million of the reported $750 million purchase price would go to the payment of owed Full Tilt players and as a settlement with the US government.

    Later in the day iGaming France reported that a Groupe Bernard Tapie statement had confirmed that the GBT deal had fallen through, citing "unresolvable legal complications" and failure to agree on a player repayment plan.

    Message board speculation is that Pokerstars will re-launch Full Tilt Poker, but keep the brand separate from its own. It is not known how the agreement will impact the criminal charges faced by Pokerstars' owner, billionaire Isai Scheinberg and his Isle of Man associate Paul Tate, who have been indicted in the US on allegations of UIGEA violations, operating an illegal gambling business, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
     
    3 people like this.
  2. Apr 24, 2012
  3. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Update

    GROUPE BERNARD TAPIE PULLS OUT OF FTP DEAL (Update)

    Groupe Bernard Tapie lawyer gives more detail

    The Associated Press news agency has confirmed reports that Groupe Bernard Tapie is no longer interested in acquiring Full Tilt Poker, quoting a lawyer close to the negotiations.

    Benham Dayanim told AP that GBT's $80 million initiative had failed to reach agreement with US Department of Justice negotiators over how quickly players with money tied up on the site would be repaid, and revealed that prosecutors changed their offer earlier this month and wanted players repaid in full within 90 days of the sale.

    "We were not prepared to do that," Dayanim said. "The DoJ did not make that a deal-breaker until the very end."

    Jerika Richardson, a spokeswoman for the U.S Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, declined to comment.

    GBT was given a letter of agreement by the Department of Justice in November 2011 in hopes of brokering a sale and getting gamblers their money back. The Tapie group would have paid players outside the U.S., while Americans who gambled at the site would send claims to the Justice Department. Current investors with stakes in Full Tilt would not have been allowed to have a stake in the new company.

    The Tapie group planned to restore balances immediately to let players play poker, but needed more time before allowing them to withdraw all their money from the site, Dayanim said, adding that the change came just as the deal with the Justice Department was being finalised.

    "Clearly, we understood that they were negotiating with another party," Dayanim said.

    Dayanim said the deal also failed because the group couldn't resolve whether creditors and courts would view the buyout as valid without coming after Tapie for Full Tilt's other debts. More time to restore player balances would have helped resolve that, but the 90-day demand made that unworkable, he said.

    "Ultimately, we made the best offer we could make," Dayanim said.
     
  4. Apr 24, 2012
  5. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    GROUPE BERNARD TAPIE OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON FTP

    Groupe Bernard Tapie regrets to announce that, after seven months of intensive work, our efforts to obtain final approval of the United States Department of Justice of the agreement to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker have ended without success.

    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 percent 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.

    GBT is very conscious of the hopes it has created – among FTP employees that they will retain their jobs, among FTP players that they will recover their balances, and among the entire poker community that the world’s finest poker platform will be relaunched and bring a needed added element of competition to a world market that today is fully dominated by a single operator.

    GBT cannot accept the end of those hopes. For that reason, unless a concrete and legally viable solution is found in the very coming days to save the employees and repay the players of FTP, we will move to our own plan of action.

    We understand from press reports that the DOJ may have entered into an agreement with PokerStars pursuant to which PokerStars will acquire the FTP assets.

    If accurate, we can only assume that PokerStars determined that it was willing to accept these legal and financial risks in order to resolve its own legal situation with DOJ.

    If a PokerStars acquisition of FTP means that all FTP players will be fully repaid immediately, we are very happy for the players, as their final and full repayment has always been our priority. We only regret that such a deal would signal further consolidation of a poker market already dominated by a single player – an outcome that may raise antitrust concerns and that, in the long run, is probably not good for players and for the whole online poker industry.
     
  6. Apr 25, 2012
  7. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    POKERSTARS SPEAKS ON F.T.P. RUMOURS - SORT OF (Update)

    Not a confirmation...but not a denial either

    With rumours of a Full Tilt Poker takeover by Pokerstars still reverberating around the online poker industry late Tuesday evening, a Pokerstars spokesman stepped up to give an official company comment on the twoplustwo message board and the firm's blog.

    Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications for PokerStars, said in the brief statement: "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."

    Whilst it did not confirm that Pokerstars was making a bid for Full Tilt, the statement did not deny that it was doing so either.

    Pokerstars has already paid out its US players a reported $125 million in the wake of Black Friday, and it immediately reversed out of the US market following that debacle, although charges remain against the owners.

    There is now speculation that the talks with US officialdom are to do with halting criminal and civil proceedings for an agreed settlement, enabling Pokerstars to clear its slate for the future and complete its acquisition of Full Tilt Poker now that Groupe Bernard Tapie has withdrawn.
     

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