Full Tilt Poker announced on PokerStrategy.com that an acquisition agreement was signed with the Bernard Tapie Group. This news came on Friday, just one day after Full Tilt Poker's license was revoked by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. The managing director of the Bernard Tapie Group, Laurent Tapie, made the announcement.
Bernard Tapie is Laurent Tapie's father. Bernard is a French businessman and politician and credited with rebuilding and making a number of bankrupt companies profitable, including Adidas. In his portfolio of business ventures, he also owned a cycling team that won the Tour de France twice and a soccer club that won the French Championship five times back to back and the Champions League in 1993. Bernard has more to his record than winning though; he served a seven-month prison sentence for being accused of fixing a match between his soccer club and another in 1993. He was sued by his banker for repayment of a $240M loan and convicted of tax fraud.
The reprinted Full Tilt Press Release:
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.
In a later breaking news update, Laurent Tapie discussed the acquisition of Full Tilt Poker in an exclusive interview with iGaming France. iGaming France reports 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."
The amount of money involved in the acquisition and cost to Tapie's company was not disclosed but he did say he "wouldn't have undertaken such a project if he didn't believe in its potential."
Tapie 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 appears that Tapie believes in the Full Tilt brand. "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, Tapi hopes Full Tilt Poker will be reopened by Jan. 2012.