Astonishing Twist in the FTP Story - PokerStars Buys Full Tilt?

Poker Rooms | estimated reading time
2012. April 24.
A 2+2 thread concerning the acquisition of Full Tilt Poker by PokerStars is turning the poker world upside down. Whether the news is real still remains a question.
According to a forum post on 2+2, PokerStars has acquired Full Tilt Poker. This post says that PokerStars will pay 100% of the money players had stuck on FTP, and will run the two poker rooms independently, with different players and different promotions.

The news did not seem credible at first, but the more information surfaces, the more legit it sounds. PokerStars is said to have purchased FTP for $750 million, and will pay $330 million to the United States DoJ.

These posts on 2+2 have been removed, but later republished by respected forum moderator NoahSD, who mentioned inside sources telling him not to remove the posts.

According to uncomfirmed sources, Laurent Tapie said that he could not acquire FTP for external reasons (iGaming France mentioned 'sabotage').

Daniel 'jungleman12' Cates also mentioned FTP yesterday, saying that "very promising news" have surfaced about the poker room.

Tom Victor, writer at EGR Magazine, claims to have credible information straight from Groupe Tapie, and says that GBT contacted him, telling him that the deal would not come true, mainly bercause of two reasons: the fact that they would have to pay back the players, and that legal issues have risen that cannot be solved. At the moment, he is talking about the issue on Quadjacks.com.

We will keep you updated, as soon as anything new surfaces!

UPDATE: a statement that is said to be official has just aired on Quadjacks, stating:

"Groupe Bernard Tapie regrets to announce that, after seven months of intensive work, our efforts to obtain final approval of the United States Department of Justice of the agreement to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker have ended without success.

Ultimately, the deal failed due to two major issues.

The parties could not agree on a plan for repayment of ROW players.

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 extent 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 on the site, by a date certain, and 94.9% of ROW players would have been fully repaid on day 1. DOJ ultimately insisted on full repayment with right of withdrawal within 90 days for all players– a surprise demand made in the 11th hour, after months of good-faith negotiations by GBT.

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.

Given the $80 million purchase price, and the substantial amount of cash needed to relaunch FTP, those issues ultimately proved too substantial to overcome.

GBT is very conscious of the hopes it has created – among FTP employees that they will retain their jobs, among FTP players that they will recover their balances, and among the entire poker community that the world’s finest poker platform will be relaunched and bring a needed added element of competition to a world market that today is fully dominated by a single operator.

GBT cannot accept the end of those hopes.

For that reason, unless a concrete and legally viable solution is found in the very coming days to save the employees and repay the players of FTP, we will move to our own plan of action.

We understand from press reports that the DOJ may have entered into an agreement with PokerStars pursuant to which PokerStars will acquire the FTP assets.
If accurate, we can 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 DOJ.

If a PokerStars acquisition of FTP means that all FTP players will be fully repaid immediately, we are very happy for the players, as their final and full repayment has always been our priority.

We only regret that such a deal would signal further consolidation of a poker market already dominated by a single player – an outcome that may raise antitrust concerns and that, in the long run, is probably not good for players and for the whole online poker industry.”
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