by Renee Israel
The online gambling industry was buzzing with the news that the acquisition
deal between French investors Groupe Bernard Tapie and the beleaguered online
poker room, Full Tilt Poker is off.
But while the French investment firm may be out of the running, leading
online poker room Poker Stars is reportedly in talks with the US Department of
Justice (DOJ) to buy the poker room for an unconfirmed $750 million.
After reports that the deal between GBT and Full Tilt Poker was almost
concluded, it was suddenly confirmed yesterday that the deal was off, after
surprise demands were made by the DOJ "in the 11th hour".
In a statement issued by the French group, several reasons were outlined for
the failure of the acquisition deal, including the fact that the parties
couldn't "agree on a plan for repayment of ROW [Rest of World] players".
The statement read: "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 extend 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 at the site, by a date certain, and 94.9% of ROW players would have been
fully repaid on day 1"
The statement continued that the DOJ ultimately insisted that full repayment
be made with right of withdrawal within 90 days for all players - a last minute
demand which took the group by surprise.
Poker Stars to Acquire Full Tilt Poker
Yesterday, Poker Stars confirmed that it was in talks with the
US Department of Justice over the potential acquisition of Full Tilt Poker, but
said that it could not comment any further.
"We've had a lot of inquiries and there's lots of speculation on
the forums, so I wanted to address the Poker Stars chatter," said the Head of
Corporate communications for the site, Eric Hollreiser. "As you know, Poker
Stars 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."
It is said that Poker Stars will purchase its arch competitor
for $750 million, of which $330 million will be repaid to former Full Tilt Poker
In its statement, Groupe Bernard Tapie addressed the option of
Poker Stars purchasing Full Tilt Poker.
"We understand from press reports that the DOJ may have entered
into an agreement with Poker Stars pursuant to which Poker Stars will acquire
the FTP assets," it noted. "If accurate, we can only assume that Poker Stars
determined that it was willing to accept these legal and financial risks in
order to resolve its own legal situation with DOJ."