Full Tilt Poker Acquisition Agreement Signed with Bernard Tapie Group (UPDATED)
On Friday, Full Tilt Poker made an announcement on PokerStrategy.com that an acquisition agreement was signed with the Bernard Tapie Group. This news comes just a day after the Alderney Gambling Control Commission revoked Full Tilt Poker's license.
The announcement was made by Laurent Tapie, managing director of the Bernard Tapie Group.
Laurent Tapie is the son of Bernard Tapie, a French businessman and politician. Bernard Tapie is well known for bringing a number out of bankrupt companies, rebuilding them and making them profitable — his most famous is Adidas, which he owned from 1990 to 1993. His involvement in sports extend from owning a cycling team that won the Tour de France twice to a soccer club that won the French Championship five times in a row, as well as the Champions League in 1993. Bernard Tapie's reputation though isn't exactly spotless. Back in 1993, he was accused of fixing a match between his soccer club and another, for which he served a seven-month prison sentence. Tapie was also convicted of tax fraud and was sued by his banker for repayment of a $240 million loan.
Reprinted below is the press release in full:
Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie Sign Acquisition Agreement
Dublin, Ireland (September 30, 2011) Laurent Tapie, Managing Director of Groupe Bernard Tapie announced today that the group has signed an exclusive agreement with the Board of Directors of Full Tilt Poker to acquire the company and all of its associated assets.
This agreement, which includes the repayment of Full Tilt Poker’s world-wide players in full, is subject to several conditions; the first of which is a favorable resolution with the United States Department of Justice. Discussions with the United States Department of Justice will begin immediately.
Groupe Bernard Tapie has over 30 years of experience in the salvation of financially distressed businesses, with over 40 companies acquired and managed to profitability, the most well-known being the sport equipment giant, Adidas.
Updated 9:45 a.m. PDT: Laurent Tapie granted an exclusive interview with iGaming France to discuss the acquisition of Full Tilt Poker. According to iGaming France, the agreement includes "repayment of Full Tilt Poker's world-wide players in full, and is subject to several conditions; the first of which is a favorable resolution with the United States Department of Justice."
Tapie didn't disclose how much money the acquisition would cost his company, but did say he "wouldn't have undertaken such a project if he didn't believe in its potential."
He also told iGaming France, "We have shown that we have the funds necessary to repay player debts. We want to find ways where we don’t have to put in all the money and will be talking to the US Department of Justice next week."
It seems Tapie believes in the Full Tilt Poker brand and said he would keep it. "The brand is not in question, it’s a well-known brand and the technology is widely recognized as being possibly the best in the industry. The management of the company is being questioned and it will be changed (should the takeover be concluded). I believe we have the tools necessary to once again make the site one of the leaders in the online poker sector."
According to iGaming France, he hopes to have the site reopened by Jan. 2012.