March 30th, 2012 by Scott Jack
Last month we reported on our site that the Full Tilt Poker and Group Bernard Tapie deal might be at a standstill. GBT made it very clear that Full Tilt Pros were part of the reason why the deal was being held up. We talked about Full Tilt Pros owing unpaid debt to Full Tilt Poker and that if the debts weren’t paid back there would be a problem getting the deal finalized.
We’re almost coming up on the one year anniversary of Black Friday (black Friday was when a few US facing poker sites were forced to close their doors to American players) and it would be nice to have a deal finalized before April 15th, but apparently the deal has been delayed again. Behnam Dayanim (GBT’s Lawyer) stated a few weeks ago that the deal would need more time before it could be finalized, as there were still obstacles preventing the deal from getting done.
Initially the deal had a deadline of March 16th 2012 to be finalized, but nothing has been released this week. The GBT deal looks to be stalled again and many poker players are starting to wonder about the sincerity of the GBT deal. GBT has been receiving free press for almost a year now and it doesn’t seem like they’re prepared to close the deal on the Full Tilt Poker room.
Full Tilt Poker Pros Debts
We reported in February that Full Tilt Poker Pros owed the company roughly $16.5 million in unpaid debts. In the past month it has been reported that most of the poker players in debt are willing to repay what they owe. The FTP Pros debts were one of the biggest factors preventing the GBT deal from being finalized, but apparently this issue has been taken care of now.
GBT in Talks with the AGCC
Rumours started flying this week when it was reported that GBT was in talks with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. It has been stated that GBT is trying to receive approval to be re-licensed by the AGCC. GBT has also expressed interest in receiving a license to operate online poker games in Spain.
Spain is one of the biggest regulated poker markets and GBT is testing the waters to see if they’ll be able to receive licenses to operate in regulated poker markets before closing the deal. Since US players wouldn’t be able to play on the new Full Tilt it’s very important that GBT has access to international player pools or else this deal is never going to be finalized.
GBT Has Outside Investor Lined Up
Part of the GBT – Full Tilt Poker deal is that GBT is responsible for paying back international poker players while the US DoJ will be responsible for paying back US poker players. This isn’t good news for US poker players that have money on Full Tilt. It has been estimated that US poker players are owed about $150M while international players could be owed up to $300M.
GBT apparently has lined up an outside investor that would help fund paying back international players. As soon as a new FTP reopens international players would be able to withdraw the money in their wallet if they wish. Having to pay back up to $300M is another factor that’s holding the deal back.
Recent research reports have shown that Full Tilt Poker might be able to make about $70M gross annually without US players on the network and with only a percentage of international players staying with the network. $70M may seem like a lot, but that’s only gross revenues and you have to remember that this deal has a lot of upfront costs involved.
GBT would need to come up with the $80M to pay the US DoJ plus they would need up to $300M in order to pay back players in countries outside of the USA with funds on Full Tilt Poker. An initial investment of up to $380M is a lot of money considering the poker room may only make up to $70M in gross revenues annually without US poker players.
New Full Tilt Poker Investor
Earlier this month it was also reported that a new investor may be interested in Full Tilt Poker. An unnamed investment firm in the United Kingdom has apparently stated that they would purchase the FTP software assets for $30M cash. The deal is much smaller and the company is only interested in the software and not the actual company.
In my opinion paying $30M for the Full Tilt Poker software assets is a steal. It would also mean that there would be no other vital assets worth much that could be sold. $30M is a far cry from what poker players are owed in the USA and around the world, so I don’t see how this new potential deal is going to work out.
If anything, it should spark interest in the FTP sale again and might push GBT to finally make a decision. GBT has continually been back and forth with the FTP deal for months now and I’m sure everyone just wants an answer. In my opinion GBT is getting cold feet and are unsure about whether a new FTP (FTP2?) would become profitable. We’ll make sure we keep you guys updated.