Full Tilt Takeover - Tapie Group Out, PokerStars In? [+ GBT Repayment Details]

Groupe Bernard Tapie's Full Tilt Poker buyout deal is off. Additionally, several sources are reporting that PokerStars has reached an agreement with the United States to purchase Full Tilt.

Numerous sources have reported that Groupe Bernard Tapie's involvement with a possible takeover deal of Full Tilt Poker has come to a close. PokerStrategy.com can independently confirm this.

On Twitter, iGaming France stated "Laurent Tapie confirms deal is off for FTP buyout, insinuates external sabotage over DOJ [negotiations]."

PokerStars Involved?

Earlier today, a post on the TwoPlusTwo forums stated:

"PokerStars has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to buy FTP. The things I heard:

• All players will be refunded 100%
• Both sites back online
• Both sites have promotions
• Employees remain in both places

Expect more news today."

Alexandre Dreyfus, the CEO of Chilipoker, tweeted "PokerStars buys Full Tilt for a consideration of $750m, including settlement with DOJ and full balances of players ($330m). I'm impressed."

GBT Statement

Here is Groupe Bernard Tapie's official statement, originally posted on iGaming Post

"Groupe Bernard Tapie regrets to announce that, after seven months of intensive work, our efforts to obtain final approval of the United States Department of Justice of the agreement to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker have ended without success.

Ultimately, the deal failed due to two major issues.

The parties could not agree on a plan for repayment of ROW players.

GBT proposed a plan that would have resulted in immediate reinstatement of all ROW player balances, with a right to withdraw those funds over time, based on the size of the player balance and the extent of the player’s playing activity on the re-launched site. All players would have been permitted complete withdrawal of their balances, regardless of whether they played on the site, by a date certain, and 94.9% of ROW players would have been fully repaid on day 1. DOJ ultimately insisted on full repayment with right of withdrawal within 90 days for all players– a surprise demand made in the 11th hour, after months of good-faith negotiations by GBT.

The legal complications surrounding the deal – specifically, questions surrounding the legality of the forfeiture under non-US laws – also proved unresolvable.

All of the key assets of the FTP companies reside outside of the United States. A non-US court well might regard the purported forfeiture as a “fraudulent transaction” and declare it invalid or deem the acquirer of the assets responsible for all of those creditor obligations.

Given the $80 million purchase price, and the substantial amount of cash needed to relaunch FTP, those issues ultimately proved too substantial to overcome.

GBT is very conscious of the hopes it has created – among FTP employees that they will retain their jobs, among FTP players that they will recover their balances, and among the entire poker community that the world’s finest poker platform will be relaunched and bring a needed added element of competition to a world market that today is fully dominated by a single operator.

GBT cannot accept the end of those hopes.

For that reason, unless a concrete and legally viable solution is found in the very coming days to save the employees and repay the players of FTP, we will move to our own plan of action.

We understand from press reports that the DOJ may have entered into an agreement with PokerStars pursuant to which PokerStars will acquire the FTP assets. 
If accurate, we can only assume that PokerStars determined that it was willing to accept these legal and financial risks in order to resolve its own legal situation with DOJ.

 If a PokerStars acquisition of FTP means that all FTP players will be fully repaid immediately, we are very happy for the players, as their final and full repayment has always been our priority.

We only regret that such a deal would signal further consolidation of a poker market already dominated by a single player – an outcome that may raise antitrust concerns and that, in the long run, is probably not good for players and for the whole online poker industry.”

Tapie Lawyer Comments to PokerStrategy.com

Behnam Dayanim, an attorney for Groupe Bernard Tapie, made several comments to PokerStrategy.com explaining the situation from his perspective. He discussed two reasons why the GBT deal fell through, and he commented on why PokerStars might be okay with taking on certain risks that GBT was uncomfortable with.

Shaun Deeb Post

Legendary online tournament grinder Shaun Deeb has written a post on the TwoPlusTwo forums suggesting some terms of a PokerStars takeover deal:

"Anyways the deal is already done by what I am told;

Players will be paid within 90 days
FTP will be open in the US market
Isai [Scheinberg] will be stepping down from the company

If these statements are true I feel that Isai deserves all our thanks + business in the future with his company he is bailing out the igaming industry's tarnished reputation"

Please take into account that although Deeb is a respected figure in the poker world, this information may still be innacurate or exaggerated.

PokerStars Statement

On PokerStarsBlog.com, PokerStars released the following brief statement:

"We've had a lot of enquiries and there's lots of speculation on the forums, so I wanted to address the PokerStars chatter. As you know, PokerStars is in settlement discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice. As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on rumors. As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so."

The statement was attributed to Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars.

FTP Attorney comment

FTP attorney Barry Boss, of Cozen O’Connor, offered the following statement to DiamondFlushPoker:
“To address issues reported today in the media and on blogs, Full Tilt Poker confirms that its agreement with Groupe Bernard Tapie has in fact been terminated.  Despite this development, Full Tilt Poker is more optimistic than ever that its number one goal will be obtained: Full Tilt players will be repaid. Full Tilt Poker has been in settlement discussions with the US Department of Justice.  As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on any rumors related to the details of those discussions.  As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so.”

Diamond Flush Poker Reveals GBT Repayment Plan

Diamond Flush Poker, an offshoot of Subject: Poker, has published an article dissecting much of the information in GBT's public statement (see above). The article includes GBT's early plans for player repayment as well as how their later plans looked after the DOJ objected to some of their original ideas.

The overall implication of the article is that GBT was exceptionally thrifty and attempted to pay as little as humanly possible for Full Tilt's assets, even if that meant making players wait lengthy periods of times before they could actually claim their funds. It is possible that the DOJ chose to muscle GBT out of negotiations for these reasons.

PokerStrategy.com will continue to update this page as additional information becomes available.

by Matt Kaufman 

Comments (121)

newest first
  • BarryCarter


    I dont do this often, but....

  • SpexiDK


  • delphino


  • SpexiDK


  • TGaby88


  • stevegold87


    Mother of pokerstars
  • ZhiCheng




  • penno10


    Long term would this be bad for poker, stars having monopoly on the whole of online poker nearly? Short term though it would be great news.
  • dreamer14


    holy shit.....
  • goldchess


    second ;)
  • TSchmidt


    didnt see that one coming!
    please be true.! :)
  • SryImNoob


  • sherriffatman


    wow, just wow!
  • xXxDARKxXx


    OMG NO NO NO again pokerstars FU!!!!!
  • arba1992


  • JuiceQuadre


    FIRST?!! oh....
  • rifearmo85


    PokerStars FTW
  • chiliking


  • Tarhonya




    Monopoly ?
  • BOBOsvk


    as i use to comment on this news for a year now, GOOOOOOOOOOOOD NEWWWWWWWZ
  • theCLEANERg


    didnt like that.....NOT GOOD
  • Cpwpoker


    wtf o.o !!!!!!!!!!

    Am :O :O :O

    So poker star rebuying full tilt to close it later XD!

    LOL !
  • theCLEANERg


    they will be the biggest grinders in poker world:(
  • TheMoment


  • TSchmidt


    write in english please.! :/
  • Cpwpoker


    # 26 RAZZved4ik, 24 Apr 12 21:08
    Ultimately, the deal never took place on two main issues.

    The parties could not agree on terms of repayment of debts to players from other countries.
    # 27 RAZZved4ik, 24 Apr 12 21:08
    GBT proposed a plan that balances all at once restored the players with the right to withdraw these funds over time, depending on the size of the balance of the player and the player's gaming activity level after the resumption of the site.
    # 28 RAZZved4ik, 24 Apr 12 21:08
    All players would be allowed to complete withdrawal of their funds, regardless of how they played on the site, by a certain date. And the debts of 94.9% of players would be fully repaid in one day.
  • TSchmidt


    or danish for that matter, haha! :D
  • Heffron89


  • shichibukaii


    it was this close to it all and now suddenly tapie out and stars in? madness
  • eteris


    registering new companies, hiring people and now they want out... LOL
  • Avatars91


    So.. when will the money that was stolen from me be returned? ..
  • Tunatic


    That better not mean that just because I was banned from Full Tilt, I'll also be banned on the new FTP site. God damn.
  • Tunatic


    banned from PokerStars not FTP -.-
  • SRBSavic1


    GBT officially confirmed that the deal didn't work out
  • richard1817


    any idea how rakeback would work?
    I would love to grind out supernova elite on the fulltilt games
  • shichibukaii


    stars is probably reduce promotions and remove rakeback
  • T3rMiT3


    lol... aren't you all tired of all this bullshit so called news?!

    FT is gone people...get used to it... you will never receive a penny back.

    they are lieing for an year now, same stupid stories as always.
  • supeyrio


  • arba1992


    why noone said "ONE TIME"?....
  • manelribeiro


    "So poker star rebuying full tilt to close it later XD!" [2]

    I really hate pokerstars, i was so hopefully, now i am so sadddddd!

    unbelivable i was hopping for next saturday full tilt would be back, now this continues!

    the worst part, the freak son of bitc__ (you may complete) chris fergunson and howard lederer keep their houses and fortune, nothing has happened with them, and we ROW players still with funds there.


    i dont even know what to say goddammmm this sucks the deal whit stars isnt gonna workout .......a hole year and there not coming back pfffffff FML
  • stranovsky


    This sucks! Worst news of the year so far. I hoped I could grind microstakes on FTP with some rakeback, now its all gone. Fuck you DOJ
  • tammyccc


    aye think there,s another sad story comin.the,ll playin with are heads and at the end we,ll still not sniff a bean of ARE MONEY THAT WAS STOOL aye would really like to no when the law is going to do sometime about it there has to be jail sentences for sure no matter wot the out come.
  • NorwayCowboy


    Holy ****!
  • KowKain


    enormus rake, here we come... dont want another Pokerstars.. one is too much already, fckin greedy bastards
  • earthzilla


    Holy s**t, I,m one day offline and apparently in that time HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!
  • M1rCea


  • GustoMaina


    One (poker)Room to rule them all, One Room to find them,
    One Room to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
  • timbakt00


    haha @54. fits really nice.

    But surely once legalized in the US we will get the competitors(land based casinos Wynn et. al.) that we need?
  • ragney


    stars has the lowest rake and best rakeback (supernova) of all poker sites
  • boboistina


    AND DOJ too, who are you to decide about the bankrolls of people from outside of the US, go deal with you IDIOTS citizens whol played online poker although it was illegal.US again playing the world polece game, screw you.
  • timbakt00


    @57 surely we dont know the facts yet. from JUST looking at the GBT statement it seems DOJ was slow rolling GBT and not the other way round
  • ExternalUseOnly


    Huge news ITT. So can anyone tell me how much of a delay (if any) will this have on FTP re-opening?

    The hearing for the new licence that was scheduled for may will that still go ahead or do they need to submit a new application now? Do they even need to apply at all if Stars already has a licence? Sorry i'm a bit slow :P

    Nice work PS guys keep the updates coming
  • ExternalUseOnly


    And @57 #notsureifserious
  • Snodreliss


  • nativehero2007


    Buy out the competition, corporate takeover, merger, whatever bye bye Full Jilt!!!!
  • TiciBoy


    @#57-58 This is waay better deal for those with bankrolls stuck on FTP. The question is how will this monopol (until there is legislation in USA and we get legitimate competitors in land-based casinos).
  • TiciBoy


    ...Question is how will this monopol influence the development of online Poker in long-term.
  • boboistina


    #65 not well that's for sure, there will be less bonuses and promos, whey give them when the players have no choice (or very little choice) than to play on stars.
  • w34z3l


  • M1rCea


    Yeah, the lack of competition will be really bad... I mean..
    Now Stars can do whatever they want... Online poker will become theirs unfortunately.
    Maybe I'm wrong but maybe Stars had something to do with Tapie's deal falling off.
  • rubenbakag



    What a story! When is the movie coming out?

    BTW: I used to be platinum :(

  • BossX1


    omg, luckerstars, riverstars thats why i want full tilt and no that sh...
  • boboistina


    #71 nice link which says absolutely nothing unless you sign in, and probably says nothing then too
  • boboistina


    "For that reason, unless a concrete and legally viable solution is found in the very coming days to save the employees and repay the players of FTP, we will move to our own plan of action."

    I'm failing to understand this part, what plan is he talking about?
  • MrS212i


    The real question is, WHEN THE **** will FTP re-open?
  • HansTheGreat


    this is biggest comment list ever!lol


    I have never really rooted for Shaun Deeb, INTIL NOW! ONE TIME!!!
  • shichibukaii



    burn DOJ down
    seize the money back
    repay the players
    hide in Kokomo
    ... profit!
  • kolacar


    77 comments in 5 hours, more then on Black Friday. Thats how big this news is!
  • Yoghurt1973


    Just sue Lederer, Ferguson, Bitar and the like for your money. Would be much more rewarding and quicker :)
  • Hansshi


  • Hansshi


  • Tarhonya


    #short-term: players getting paid, really awesome.

    #long-term: stars will massacre all the features we loved in FTP (promos/RB/gametypes), we will have 2 stars, monopoly.
  • jozata


    Oh,boy...The saga continues...Stay tuned... Far from optimistic after this...Can't see Stars the job... All hope is lost...Rebuilding at the micros...
  • jozata


    *Cant see Stars do the job
  • Tim64


    Pokerstars is already a virtual monopoly. Don't see this as changing much, were it to go ahead. The main thing is to get the $ on FT back into the poker economy.
  • muel294


  • antstruk


    Stars <3
  • stew1889


    @ 58 i totally agree. Although i think everybody should get refunded, how can the DOJ negotiate terms for players who were playing ILLEGALLY while the ROW were doing nothing wrong! Its a joke. Its just shows the state our world is in. Idiots have all the power.
  • brobz


    so full tilt will turn into a party poker skin?
  • William340


    technically, US players were not playing illegally.
    Stars, Tilt, UB & AP were illegally disguising money transfers in violation of US laws and a number of banking regulations.

    it would be nice to see the FTP players get their money back.

    it would also be nice to have some inkling what the story is at UB & AP
  • JBCD71


    The DOJ is willing to be bought out. When they should be closing down FullTilt and PokerStars for illegal activity and other sites.Thats why theres charges against them.But if they wave lots of money in their faces,it all goes away.Sad Sad.And now they gonna give PokerStars full power and control of the online industry.Can anyone say monopoly.
  • JBCD71


    If players dont like this..i recommend closing your PokerStars account like i did mine.Dont give them the power.In the end the players have the power if everybody worked together.Unless everyone is ok with a monopoly ,which is never good especially for the players.Only if this is in fact true of the takeover.
  • earthzilla


    Don,t you dare ruin it! ;)

    BTW, what does it mean that FT will be open in US market? Are the americans only allowed to withdraw and not to play?
    Damn, I schouldn,t have asked that question, now you certainly are going to ruin it! ;)
  • JBCD71


    Shaun Deeb telling us to thank ISAI chienberg.What a joke.Brown noser.Thank him for what really..realy.Thank goodness he is stepping down good riddens.
  • nathanrenard


    This means, forever, no more strategy point for me.
  • JBCD71


    Shaun Deeb is a fool to tell players to thank ISAI schienberg..for bailing out the tarnished industry.he had a huge hand in the tarnishing of the online industry...what a idiot.Shaun Deeb your paycheck must be signed by him isnt it.Little do you know PokerStars has been shady since they started thier company.
  • JBCD71


    AS much as i hate to admit it.The online industry is corrupted from bottom to the top.Sickens me.The love i have for this game cries for what these idiots have done to the game of poker online industry.
  • JBCD71


    The passion i have for the game is stronger than anyones.It absolutley sickens me to see what is being done to the online industry.As much as i hate to admit it.Its corrupted from the bottom to the top.Its sad to see whats been done to the online world of poker and my heart cries for what these idiots have done to this wonderful game.
  • JBCD71


    Magic number is $750 million for FullTilt assets,players money owed account,and get out of jail free card.All charges dropped.WOW!!! What a Monopoly.If this is true and gonna happen.
  • MrS212i


  • Heitzenizer


    Can you put ignore on a member?
    And please, for the love of god, buy a new keyboard which has the "enter"-key.
  • rupucis2


    Pokerstars buying FT.. in long term that`s not good for players for sure!!
  • boboistina


    According to diamond flush GBT was trying to cheap his way into owning FTP and not repaying people their money.

    Trolling us for almost a year, giving us false hope and preparing to rip us off like the trio owning the company before. PLAYERS WOULD GET REPAID WITHIN 5 YEARS, WTF??????

    No wonder they applied at AGCC for a license, knowing they dont care what happens with players as long as they get their fees.

    Mr.Tapie, screw you.
  • LimburgCwboy


    ANY company, trying to acquire another company, will try to do so in the cheapest possible way.

    However, if the 5-year-limit, and other 'strange' requirements would be set in place, that would make even the take-over beneficial.
    (168 Million on hold, taking in interest from a bank for over 5 years)

    On the other hand, DOJ could (maybe) have re-negotiated those plans, instead of blocking it all together.

    Now if PS is taking over, it will be an, almost, monopoly, something that is NEVER good.

    Let's see.

    PS, maybe the DOJ can themselves apply for a license :))
  • n1ckt




    the articlte also said something about external sabotage ??? stars???

    pretty strange stars is here to savwe our bankrolls FTP aint gonna comeback my friends stars is gonna pullout at the last moment...and even if they would buy FTP the would just ude the game types and software sdont believe that stars would keep ftp open as company they just want the software an d client database so they can fillup the gap theyve been having since there traffic dropt allot last months


    Wish they bring back the "Big-Little " tournament in FTP :p
  • AsTightAsJesus


  • Cpwpoker


    Poker strategy should have bought Full tilt @ least we would know that we are in good hand xD
  • apd1020


    Scenario 1:

    There is a 3-way deal among GBT, Stars and DOJ financed by Ferguson and Bitar to keep stalling until they can get away.

    Scenario 2:

    Poker Stars sabotaged deal between GBT and DOJ to buy more time to be exclusively open. I mean, there is no time limit to their deal right? There is no pressure for Stars to repay the debts. But as long as no one else buys FTP, then they stay the monopoly. It's definitely in their interest to make this move, and stall as long as possible not to pay... So sick!


    @110 ime whith you on scenario2 my thoughts excact call it crazy but thats a typical stars river .


    external sabotage
  • KowKain


    every player should donate some money and we buy FTP ourselves. we need 250000 players with 300$ each.... i'd do it


  • LimburgCwboy


    so you don't want to pay back anyone then, as 300 * 250000 = 75 million, only the price of the assets
  • eteris


    why would DOJ care about PS monopoly????? PS operates outside US so DOJ don't give a shit.
  • tammyccc


    seems to me that stars are pullin the strings of the right people an as for bernard tapie him buyin would not a been a good move for us the player he was cot fixing football games to make money so wot would a happened to us online u,d a been playin against a computer u,d be better playin fruit machines lets face it lads anybody really interested in tilt would a had the deal done months ago.
  • JBCD71


    Party Poker and BWIN will aquire FullTilt? :)
  • Cpwpoker


    It was confirmed on wall street journal that the negotiation Poker stars - DOJ is real o.o!


    @118 i hope so but lets hope it aint gonna be another year =)
  • aceonetheriver


    i dont do this often but 121
  • PickoCro


  • Am3r20


    whatever, i wanna my money back from tilt :)
  • Am3r20


    let full tilt shares on stock so we can buy it :) it will be back in few days when every1 buy some % of it :P
  • Navrark


    Have the Full Tilt staff been kept intact all of this time, doing nothing and getting paid??? That's one year of no Poker now at Full Tilt. That's a lot of salaries to pay with no money coming in!
  • Navrark


    I haven't played much Poker since Full Tilt went offline. Full Tilt returning to life may be the spark that renews my interest.