Anonymous sources claim Full Tilt sale imminent

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Mar 14, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

fulltiltpoker soldThere seems to be some good news for distraught online poker players from around the globe, however, the key word here is seems. Both eGaming Review and Gaming Intelligence are reporting that “sources” are saying a deal between Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie is imminent; likely to take place by the end of next week.

Both articles reside behind significant pay-walls (so if you’re interested in doling out about £550/year on subscriptions you can read both versions of the story at the two sites) but the crux of the articles are that Groupe Bernard Tapie has started inquiring about licensing from both the Aldernay Gambling Control Commission and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, as well as looking into applying for a Spanish license.

Before anyone gets too giddy, let’s not forget that the US Department of Justice still has a major role to play in this whole deal, and both articles use a lot of “expecting”, “estimated”, and “confident”. A quick look at the teaser on Gaming Intelligence pretty much sums up my skepticism: “Tapie and the owners of Full Tilt agreed to extend their deadline for completion until this Friday (March 16th) to allow for further due diligence and sources on both sides are confident that the deadline will be met.”

Furthermore, there is little in the way of new progress alluded to in either article, and if memory serves me correctly, Full Tilt Poker forfeited its assets to the DOJ back in January? As we reported on at that time:

The forfeiture agreement also saw the dismissal of the civil lawsuit filed by several poker players last June according to a report in (located behind a pay-wall). While the forfeiture paves the way for the sale to Groupe Bernard Tapie, Laurent Tapie, told Gaming Intelligence that the deal was far from final, with several important steps still needing to take place.

Among the remaining hurdles regarding the sale to GBT is the repayment of some $150 million to US players by the Department of Justice, and a further $150million owed to players from around the world, which Groupe Bernard Tapie has agreed to take over.

Another hurdle, which Laurent Tapie spoke about to Gaming Intelligence, is the licensing, or lack thereof, by the Aldernay Gambling Control Commission. Tapie originally hoped for a January 1, 2012 launch, which had been pushed back to March 1, 2012, a date that now appears to be pushed back even farther.

Other factors in the agreement between the DOJ and GBT (none of which is set in stone) are:

* Groupe Bernard Tapie will not allow any member of current Full Tilt Poker management to have a stake in the re-formed company

* Current owners who do not sit on the Board of Directors of Full Tilt Poker can have a passive, minority share

* The Department of Justice will dismiss the civil and criminal complaints against Full Tilt Poker, but NOT against individuals named in the amended complaints: Ray Bitar, Rafe Furst, Chris Ferguson, and Howard Lederer

So, even though there are some rumors circulating, it’s unclear at this time if this is simply another small step in the process, a smokescreen to further delay the sale, or if this is in fact the moment the entire poker community has been waiting for. We will stay on top of this story as it develops.

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