Groupe Bernard Tapie released statements yesterday indicating that their negotiations with the DOJ to help them buy Full Tilt Poker had not been successful. One of the main stumbling blocks to the GBT/DOJ/FTP2 deal was the repayment and withdrawal rights of non US players.
GBT had wanted to relaunch with over 94% of the ROW (Rest of the World) players having access to their full FTP1 bankrolls and allowed to play on the site with them but withdrawing them over time. Groupe Bernard Tapie have indicated that the DOJ changed their stance on the repayment of ROW players at the very last minute and this helped to stop the deal going through. GBT suggest that the DOJ now want full repayment of all ROW players and that all players had 90 days to withdraw their funds.
This would suggest that the long term rake and profits from the successful Full Tilt 2 launch campaign would have helped to pay those players owed a lot of money and/or that players bankrolls would have been locked in for a longer period to retain player liquidity on the site.
GBT seeming to confirm that nearly anything and everything would have been done to stop or encourage players not to withdraw after FTP2 was relaunched. The increased share of the rake by the new Full Tilt company through its suggested no affiliate policy would have dramatically helped to fund the players bankrolls and withdrawals.
The legal stumbling block for the GBT Full Tilt deal and DOJ approval is best explained by Behnam Dayanim, the GBT lawyer who issued this statement to and on PokerNews (where you can also read the full GBT statement).
The legal complications surrounding the deal – specifically, questions surrounding the legality of the forfeiture under non-US laws – also proved unresolvable. All of the key assets of the FTP companies reside outside of the United States. A non-US court well might regard the purported forfeiture as a “fraudulent transaction” and declare it invalid or deem the acquirer of the assets responsible for all of those creditor obligations.
Full Tilt relaunch 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.5, 1, 0.5
In an Q&A session in the same PokerNews article Behnam Dayanim confirmed how close to relaunching FTP2 they were:
We were ready to go. We thought we had a deal and all that was left to work out were a few technical details. Laurent Tapie was spending a lot of his time in Dublin. The company was re-hiring, and we were moving forward with the Alderney regulators to have the license re-activated. We were moving ahead. We thought we were going to be launching the new site soon.
PokerStars Full Tilt Poker?
Rumours are circulating around the poker grapevine that PokerStars are looking or have virtually completed a deal with the DOJ that would enable them to try to purchase Full Tilt Poker. The DOJ can not ‘sell’ Full Tilt Poker but can make it much easier for PokerStars to complete an approved takeover by the Full Tilt shareholders.
The Groupe Bernard Tapie ‘Full Tilt deal is off’ statement commented on these rumours and gave their concerns for the deal. The rumours are certainly surprising considering PokerStars own standing with the DOJ. pokerQ4 will investigate a ‘PokerStars buying Full Tilt scenario’ in our next post.