Full Tilt Pro Debts Holding Up Purchase DealFebruary 3, 2012 1:07 pm
Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) have announced they are hopeful of completing the $80 million purchase of Full Tilt Poker from the DoJ by the end of February.
In the meantime, a due diligence process instigated by GBT in order to reveal the true extent of Full Tilt’s financial situation has thrown up some extra concerns for the French investment firm. One of those concerns is that a number of Full Tilt Pros apparently still owe up to $20 million to the poker site which, although not the only reason for the delay in negotiations with the DOJ, is nevertheless seen as a “substantial” one.
Amongst those players with outstanding debts mentioned by GBT’s attorney Behnam Dayanim to Gaming Intelligence, are Phil Ivey, David Benyamine, Erick Lindgren, Mike Matusow and Barry Greenstein. As Behnam Dayanim explains:
“We do not want to litigate a whole bunch of individual cases against professionals post-acquisition so we are trying to negotiate but we have not been making a lot of progress.”
Apparently, some of the players have expressed interest in paying back their debts only if the money owed specifically went into a fund to repay Full Tilt’s army of frustrated customers. One pro making the effort to come forward and explain his view to the poker community was Barry Greenstein, who made a statement on the 2+2 forum as follows:
“I borrowed $400,000 to play on Full Tilt a few years ago, before PokerStars had high stakes games. I didn’t pay it back, hoping that some people who owed me and had money on Full Tilt would pay me there so I could use that against the debt. (I’m only owed about $150,000 now)…I was concerned about taking money due to US players and giving it to the Tapie Group because it is understood that the Tapie Group won’t be the one paying the US players.”
Meanwhile, the need to recover quickly the outstanding millions would seem to be of key concern for GBT, with attorney Behnam Dayanim stating that without a resolution to the problem, it’s difficult to see the deal being brought to a successful conclusion.