French investment firm Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) might have withdrawn their interest in purchasing Full Tilt Poker, but that doesn’t mean the beleaguered poker room won’t find a buyer – particularly if the rumours circulating many poker forums that rivals PokerStars have come in with an offer are to be believed.
GBT yesterday broke off negotiations with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to buy Full Tilt’s assets, with the group’s solicitor, Behnam Dayanim, stating that the deal collapsed due to
unresolvable legal problems and an inability to reach agreement on plans to repay the poker room’s customers.
This latest development in the long-running Full Tilt saga came as something as a surprise, what with many at GBT suggesting the deal was already done. Additionally, just a short while before GBT called the whole deal off, a
software consultancy and supply firm called ‘New Full Tilt Limited’ was established by the investment firm
with a Dublin registered address and starting capital of €1 million.
PokerStars Rumoured to be In Negotiations
However, it now looks like PokerStars have moved in to save Full Tilt from extinction – supposedly reaching an agreement with the DoJ to purchase the poker room for a massive $750 million, which is way above the supposed $80 million that had been agreed between GBT and the US government department.
This latest alleged deal would, however, result in PokerStars paying $330 million to players who have had their accounts frozen with Full Tilt – although that is still somewhat short of the estimated $440 million owed to customers throughout the world – while the remainder of that huge buyout will settle PokerStars’ outstanding charges against the prospective buyers.
Poker Room Keep Cards Close to Chest
But, while not denying that any deal might be in the offing, PokerStars head of corporate communications, Eric Hollreiser, released a statement on the poker room’s blog, saying:
We’ve had a lot of inquiries 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 US 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.
Chilipoker CEO Starts Frenzied Speculation
This statement followed a tweet from Alexandre Dreyfus – the Chilipoker chief executive – suggesting that PokerStars had come to an agreement with the DoJ following on from GBT’s failed attempt to buy Full Tilt.
GBT responded with their own statement, saying they could
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 the DoJ.
Of course, Full Tilt – along with the likes of PokerStars and Absolute Poker – were closed down by the DoJ last April 15, or Black Friday, after allegations of illegal gambling, money laundering and bank fraud.
World’s Biggest Poker Website Eyeing Up US Return
PokerStars quit the US market back in April last year after the DoJ indicted 11 people connected with offshore online gambling – and this proposed purchase would certainly allow the world’s biggest poker room to make a welcome return to the States.
It was last August that GBT first proposed a deal with the DoJ to buy Full Tilt’s forfeited assets, but that all fell through yesterday when the European company stated that the purchase price, as well as the considerable money required to relaunch the poker room, were just “
too substantial to overcome”. Not long after that, it emerged that PokerStars might well be interested in taking on that failed deal when Dreyfus took to Twitter with his claims.
With any luck, PokerStars will soon be in a position to clarify these rumours. We at PokerDownload.co.uk will keep you up to date on developments as soon as they happen.