World Poker Tour Gets Sold

By Matilda Karen

The month of August is a special one. The World Poker Tour (WPT) and all Allied Esports Entertainment's poker assets were finally sold. Element Partners, a private investment firm, paid a whopping $105 million for the entire bundle. Although everything appears to be on track, it is unclear what effect this will have on poker players across the globe. This year's live events in the US have even broken records. It could be months until anyone understands the implications of the sale or what effect it will have on the company. WPT players are unlikely to see any change soon.

How it All Started

The WPT was on the market, although it didn't appear to be a well-known fact. Allied Esports, on the other hand, had been hoping to sell its poker division so it could focus more on esports. This dream of a hugely successful poker-esports crossover never came to fruition.

Element Partners was aware of the situation and made an opening offer in January 2021. They proposed $78.25 million for the WPT as well as the company’s poker assets, with a $68.25 million down payment. The remaining funds would come from a 5-percent revenue-sharing arrangement for poker event entrance fees over the next three years, with a maximum pay-out of $10 million.
The purchase was approved by Allied's directorate in January 2021.

It appeared to be final enough that Adam Pliska,CEO of the WPT, issued a video voicing his delight for the company's next chapter and the new opportunities that lay ahead.

Hold Your Horses

It was presumed that the sale of the WPT will be completed within weeks after the announcement, however, the public received no further information about it until March 5th.

Bally's Corporation made an unsolicited offer to Allied Esports for $100 million to buy the WPT and all ofAllied's remaining holdings. And the corporation was prepared to pay cash or Bally's shares as payment.

Allied answered that it would consider the proposal, but that the Element sale was the better option. The board resumedin recommending that the initial offer be approved by Allied stockholders.
Bally's offer, on the other hand, was not taken lightly. The company known as Bally's Corporation, with $372.8 million in revenue in 2020, is one of the most well-known names in the casino industry in the US. It has a racetrack, 16 casinos, and fantasy sports and sports betting online facilities.

The Bidding War Starts

Bally altered its offer after Allied Esports did not receive the initial offer as the group had hoped. It removed Allied Esports less than two weeks later and proposed a $90 million purchase of the WPT and all poker assets. This was roughly $12 million more than Element Partners' offer.

Element Partners boosted their offer to $90.5 million less than a week later and dropped the payment plan of three years for the portion thereof. The company would put down a $10 million payment in order to keep the contract and then pay the remaining $80.5 million upon closing.

Bally's upped its offer to $105 million three days later.

Element Partners met that $105 million price on March 30th, but instead of cash, offered stock. This was the end of the negotiations. Allied Esports naturally intended that Element Partners own the company, therefore the directorate, as well as legal and financial advisors, approved the acquisition.

And that was the end of it. Element Partners came out on top.

A Few Challenges

The two corporations aimed to close the agreement in April, but like everything else about this transaction, it didn't go as they had planned.

The issue turned out to be with a major stockholder of Allied Esports, known as OurgameInternational. Several members on the board ofOurgame had concerns about how the proceeds from the WPT's planned sale would be distributed, and they attempted to overrule the deal. When Ourgame and then Allied discovered the three rogues, they put an end to it and a meeting was scheduled for June 30th. The deal was approved by shareholders, but only 54.4 percent of them.

So, What Now?

There aren’t any definite plans for the World Poker Tour to come back to Australia at this stage. However, the corporation has stated that it intends to return.
When the present Covid-19 outbreak diminishes, it appears extremely likely that in the future, the WPT will once again come back to Australia.

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