Op-Ed Another meaningless statement from GBT

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 28, 2012 Posted in Op-Ed | No Comments »

In a recent blog post I made the observation that every time the poker community starts talking negatively about the deal between Groupe Bernard Tapie and Full Tilt Poker, a statement magically appears from someone to explain the delays and ease concerns. Well, not long after Matt Glantz and then Daniel Negreanu started asking questions and letting their feelings be known, lo and behold a statement from GBT Lawyer Benham Dayanim appeared.

Is anyone else getting as frustrated with the interviews and statements being put out by Groupe Bernard Tapie –namely Laurent Tapie and the company’s lawyer Benham Dayanim? Dayanim’s most recent statement came via the website PokerStrategy.com, which has been acting as Full Tilt Poker’s and now Groupe Bernard Tapie’s mouthpiece since Black Friday. Here is what he had to say:

“We are very close to executing a deal and anticipate it happening over the next several weeks.

There was an expectation among the parties involved that we would conclude our discussions one way or the other by the end of February. Positive progress has been made in recent talks, and each of the parties feels reasonably confident that we’ll be able to reach a successful conclusion. As such, everyone has agreed to let the process continue for a bit longer.”

When asked about the player debts to Full Tilt Poker, Dayanim stated:

“We’ve been talking to certain players and are hoping that we may be able to resolve the issues with some of them. Others have continued to remain recalcitrant, but we’re hopeful that we will be able to achieve sufficient critical mass on all of the outstanding issues that will be able to make the deal work.”

I have one question for the GBT lawyer, if people owe money to your site (money you never anticipated to be there) how does this put the company in a worse position financially? The group continues to push the idea that an outstanding debt of $15-$20 million (a debt they had no idea was on the books when they supposedly agreed to a price) is holding up the deal, and could be a significant stumbling block. Mind you, this debt isn’t owed by Full Tilt Poker; it’s owed TO Full Tilt Poker!

In essence what GBT is saying is: We had a deal in place to buy the company for $80 million (the number that has been kicking around the poker world), but then we realized a couple dozen people will then owe us money, so unless these people pay us this money in advance (which we can then use to help purchase the company) we may be forced to walk away from this deal. This is along the lines of me agreeing on a price for a car, and then when I’m told there is a 1-in-10 chance that the trunk will contain $1,000, I say that this could jeopardize the deal.

This asinine excuse has made me very leery as to the authenticity of this deal; if GBT is willing to make the claim that the potential for a $20 million windfall AFTER they purchase the company is a problem I don’t know what to believe anymore. Besides, isn’t GBT now dealing with the US Department of Justice at this point, or are the Full Tilt Poker assets still being controlled by the shareholders of the company?

It’s interesting to note, that throughout all of the recent statements on progress being made there has not been one peep from the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York or the Department of Justice.

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