Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:37
This is quite a turn up for the books, but we can’t say that anything surprises us in the online poker world. After years of being competitors, PokerStars looks set to acquire what is left of Full Tilt Poker (FTP).
It appears that Groupe Bernard Tapie has announced an acrimonious withdrawal from the FTP deal in terms of its acquisition, and a PokerStars spokesperson declined to confirm a deal. However, it is all over the net that a deal has been struck, and is on the verge of completion. So, the FTP never-ending saga, may perhaps someday come to an end!
The fact that PokerStars is involved in negotiations to acquire FTP would mean that the beleaguered poker website might see an end to its money woes. PokerStars is in a league of its own, and is the only online poker site to survive the Black Friday closures - when the US DOJ cracked down on the industry once and for all. The deal is also apparently designed to end both PokerStars and FTP’s legal woes with the U.S. Department of Justice.
According someone (we don’t know who?) familiar with the matter; under the tenets of the agreement being discussed, the larger company - PokerStars- would pick up the assets of its smaller adversary. This would only be a part of a broader settlement in a civil case brought against the online poker businesses. The DoJ shut down the U.S. web sites of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars as part of a crackdown of online poker sites.
At this point in time there is no indication of how much PokerStars would be willing to pay for FTP, or what they would be entitled to in the form of assets. Full Tilt Poker has only one thing going for it - the fact that it was once one of the best known online poker brands world-wide. apart from that, it has an extremely tarnished reputation.
FTP also had excellent software as well as a large data-base of existing customers when it was closed down. Bear in mind that most of these customers are highly disgruntled, having been unable to withdraw their funds from the site. This deal could however be just what is needed to allow players to retrieve their funds, and what a good PR exercise this would be for PokerStars? Although approximately $300 million has been credited to players, not a cent of this amount has been paid back. Approximately half of this sum is owed to players in the USA.
A due diligence has been conducted by PokerStars executives at FTP's Dublin, Ireland, offices, and FTP are more optimistic than with the Groupe Bernard Tapie deal, that players will be repaid. Apparently this is their number one goal. The company has made a statement to this effect and has also been involved in settlement discussions with the U.S. DoJ. The terms of any such settlement are obviously strictly confidential, so, we don’t really know what the position is as yet. There was no comment from the DoJ.