Our friends over at Poker-Red unexpectedly were roped into a story that may provide some insight into how exactly Groupe Bernard Tapie plans to make the massive acquisition costs of Full Tilt Poker a little less painful–and potentially more “doable.”
The background: A Poker-Red employee was called by an individual from LivePoker, a French publication
specializing in cheese and frog leg recipes. The magazine was reaching out to top Spanish players with large balances stuck on Full Tilt–and asking them to answer survey questions. The survey concluded by asking these Spanish players about their preferred payout options from Tilt, with the following options:
1) immediate balances paid but with a large processing “fee” (i.e. fine);
2) payouts paid over a year (sans large fee), or;
3) balances converted into shares of the company.
As Poker-Red dug deeper, they found out that LivePoker is tied to/partially owned by the Tapie group. The magazine also intimated that Tilt may be up and operational again as soon as a few weeks to month.
With that in mind, the survey raises some questions. Has Tilt handed over player names with large balances to the Tapie group already? Is the Tapie group already providing some financing to keep the lights on at Tilt? And was this survey primarily a means for the Tapie group to determine how much financial capital they’ll need up front to complete the acquisition?
As we’ve written, between DoJ deals and covering player balances, the Tapie group is looking to come at least $700-800M out of pocket to acquire Tilt. So any means to spread those costs out (while generating revenue–which insiders claim to still have been around $1M a day in Europe alone post-Black Friday) is clearly beneficial to getting a deal done.
So this probing makes sense. We believe that if Tilt actually does get revived, most of the European players with small balances will just keep that money on the site and either 1) forget they even had it, or 2) keep playing with it. It’s the big money accounts that any investor/buyer needs to account for and plan to immediately cover.
We still believe the Tapie deal is a loooooooooong shot, but the survey at least shows there is still some level of activity and due diligence going on.
Read about it in full at Poker-Red here.