Tapie Buys Full Tilt Poker for $80 Million

By Maria McCoyGoogle

French business man Bernard Tapie’s Groupe Bernard Tapie has purchased Full Tilt Poker, the American online poker giant closed down last spring by the US Department of Justice, for $80,000,000.  The deal was negotiated between the USDOJ and the French investment firm.  The USDOJ seized FTP’s assets after revoking their gambling license.

The deal is not so simple.  By purchasing Full Tilt Poker, Tapie’s firm may have also bought the responsibility of returning the $390 million of player’s deposited accounts that have yet to be returned.  It is not clear if the responsibility falls entirely on the shoulders of GBT or if the USDOJ holds fiscal accountability as well.  One apparent option being discussed it that while the USDOJ will reimburse the American account holders who constitute approximately 39% of the total account monies owed, the Groupe Bernard Tapie will pay the remaining $240 million to the international account holders.

One may ask what interest Tapie has in purchasing a delicensed casino.  Those who know his history know exactly what he has in mind.  Tapie made his millions buying and turning around bankrupt companies.  Though it is unclear if he plans on relaunching Full Tilt in its existing form, or if he plans on using it as a platform to launch a new casino, his first step will have to be achieving licensing.  Those close to the deal report that once GBT is in complete control of Full Tilt Poker, he will be able to acquire relicensing.

There are no guarantees regarding the direction that FTP will go.  Since as part of the agreement with the USDOJ none of the original shareholders of FTP are allowed to retain any ownership, Tapie is really free to do with it as he pleases. 

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