The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the Potential Full Tilt Sale

Posted by James Guill on Oct 05, 2011 Posted in Op-Ed | No Comments »

Last week, Full Tilt announced that it had reached an acquisition agreement with Group Bernard Tapie.  Since that time, various information has been released either through lawyers or directly from Bernard Tapie in the form of interviews.  Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly from the potential Full Tilt sale.

The Good – Players Will Be Repaid if Deal Goes Through

“We are going to put all the money into the company we need to to please the players.  They are the key asset, above all” is a direct quote from Tapie in an article from the New York Times.

Any realistic chance that the company has of being brought back from the brink requires that all players are repaid.  This means worldwide, and not just U.S. players.  Should the company find a way to close the deal, the new group could pick up some +EV from players based on this simple fact alone.

The Bad – Tapie Group is Expecting DOJ and Others to Foot the Bill

Tapie has stated that the acquisition deal is based on a resolution of the civil matter with the U.S. Department of Justice.  Furthermore, he has stated that he is looking for the DOJ and potentially outside investors to put up at least part of the money to repay players.

What figure is he looking for exactly?  Is he looking for half?  Is he looking for 75%?  This uncertainty leaves the door open at a moments notice.  Also, it seems to me that he is making a major assumption that the DOJ will indeed turn over funds.

Finally, what type of resolution is he expecting of the civil matter?  Chances are they are going to still levy some type of hefty fine against Full Tilt.  Where is the money going to come from to pay the fine?  Do they really expect to get money back and avoid paying a hefty fine?  While I don’t understand all of the legalities of the matter, I understand enough to realize that he may be asking for too much.

The Ugly – Former Owners and Players Owed Large Amounts May Be Offered Equity Shares

This is the part of the potential deal that has many going “WTF!”  While they have stated that anyone found “guilty” will not be allowed into the new company, many are not going to believe that Full Tilt’s incompetence rested solely on the shoulders of Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson, and Rafe Furst.

What if some or all of those work out a deal where they are not proven guilty.  Will they be allowed to have shares of the company?  What kind of trust do you think that players will have in the new group when part of that group will include the old owners?

Also, in regards to those that are owed large amounts, this seems like a way to try and avoid footing some of the money.  It is possible that the players that agree to such a deal may make out better in the long run, but how much trust will they have in the new group.  If I were a player, I would be asking, “Let me understand this.  You want me to give up XYZ amount of money for a stake in a company that has an uphill climb from square one?”

I understand that many are viewing this as a true glimmer of hope in regards to getting repaid, but keep in mind that there are a lot of ifs in this deal and that nothing is anywhere near final.  Personally, I don’t have a lot of faith on the deal based on what has been revealed.  Hopefully for player’s sakes I am wrong and the acquisition deal can be completed.

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