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PokerStars Buys Full Tilt Poker … Say What?

This article may be outdated. Get the latest news on Black Friday here.

UPDATE 4:30 EST: Full Tilt Poker’s legal counsel has released a statement that echoes the Stars statement copied further down.

From DiamondFlushPoker.com:

In a statement given to DiamondFlushPoker.com, FTP attorney Barry Boss, of Cozen O’Connor, offered the following statement:

“To address issues reported today in the media and on blogs, Full Tilt Poker confirms that its agreement with Groupe Bernard Tapie has in fact been terminated. Despite this development, Full Tilt Poker is more optimistic than ever that its number one goal will be obtained: Full Tilt players will be repaid. Full Tilt Poker has been in settlement discussions with the US Department of Justice. As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on any rumors related to the details of those discussions. As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so.”

UPDATE 4pm EST: Stars releases statement saying nothing. From Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars:

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 rumors. As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so.

—–

That’s the word from reputable sources this afternoon.

The tl;dr: GBT didn’t have enough money to take on Full Tilt, so the DOJ nixed their deal. PokerStars, who has plenty of money, stepped in.

More from PokerFuse:

Until now, French investment group Group Bernard Tapie were known to be in late-stage talks. According to sources at e-Gaming Magazine, “efforts to obtain final DoJ approval to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker have ended without success,” and that the deal was “sabbotaged,” according to iGamingFrance

More from GBT’s lawyer on why the deal fell apart via PokerStrategy:

“The deal ultimately foundered on two points – the first was rest-of-world (ROW) player repayments. We made clear from the very beginning of negotiations that we were committed to making ROW players whole. As long ago as February, we had discussions with DOJ about the timeline for that repayment. […]

“The other issue that we had continuing concerns over was the possibility that the forfeiture would be regarded as a fraudulent transaction in foreign courts if challenged by creditors of Full Tilt. As a result, the acquirer might incur the liabilities of the company along with the assets.”

No official word from Stars yet…

… but, Stars is apparently hiring in Dublin:

… and AP’s Oskar Garcia confirms that GBT wasn’t the only date on the DOJ’s dance card:

Over at 2p2, Shawn Deeb says the deal is already done:

I feel bad making a new thread but dont want this info lost elsewhere but cliffs are included my source I trust a lot.

Anyways the deal is already done by what I am told;

Players will be paid within 90 days
FTP will be open in the US market
Isai will be stepping down from the company

Daniel Negreanu, head pro at Stars, is either totally in the dark or being super-coy. From PokerListings:

Daniel Negreanu, leading member of Team PokerStars Pro, told PokerListings.com today in Monte Carlo that he knew nothing of an impending deal.

“I have no information on it other than what I’m reading but people I’m talking to seem to believe it’s true,” said Negreanu.

“The idea of PokerStars buying Full Tilt for $750 million seems impossible to me, so based on what I know it would really surprise me.

“But it would definitely be good for poker players because PokerStars is a good company and players wouldn’t have to deal with those scumbags anymore,” he said.

EGR suggests that some indictments against Stars could be cleared up as part of the deal:

Details remain unclear with Stars understood to be in latter stages of finalising an agreement with the US Department of Justice – a move that could see it settle and its two indicted executives cleared.

We’ll update as events warrant.

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Chris Grove
- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.