Look, I don’t know what the World Poker Tour is actually worth, but Allied Esports Entertainment is certainly wringing all it can out of it. On Tuesday, the company announced that it once again going with Element Partners after amending its stock purchase agreement with the equity fund.
Element has now agreed to buy Allied’s poker-related business and assets, including the World Poker Tour, for $105 million. This a $14.5 million increase from Element’s previous best offer and yet another incremental step in the World Poker Tour tug-of-war.
In a press release, Allied said that the company’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved the new stock purchase agreement. Allied Esports expects the deal to close in about a month.
The bidding war for the World Poker Tour began in January, when Element Partners offered Allied Esports $78.25 million for the poker business. It was a slightly convoluted deal in which $68.25 million would have been paid in cash. The other $10 million would have come from a 5% cut of World Poker Tour tournament entry fees over three years.
The two parties shook hands and signed the agreement, but it appears that Allied Esports had an out if another suitor came to it with a “Superior Proposal.” We don’t know what that means, exactly, but it is a specific phrase that keeps showing up in each announcement, so it’s at least something.
Early this month, Bally’s made an unsolicited offer to buy all of Allied Esports, not just the World Poker Tour, for $100 million, as long as the WPT was included. Thus, to take the offer, Allied would have to back out of its deal with Element.
On March 16, Bally’s changed its offer, dropping it to $90 million, but this time it was only for the Allied’s poker business, not the entire company. It was then that Allied determined it to be a “Superior Proposal,” thus looking ready to go with Bally’s.
But Element had by March 19 to come back with another offer, which it did: $90.5 million. Some details, such as deposits and non-performance fees were changed, but overall, the key was that Element came in at half a million more than Bally’s.
Bally’s wasn’t giving up, though. On March 25, Allied announced that a new Bally’s offer of $105 million for the World Poker Tour was now the “Superior Proposal,” and gave Element until March 29 to renegotiate its previous agreement.
It appears that matching Bally’s offer was all that it took, as Allied and Element are planning to move forward again at the $105 million price point. Will Bally’s take another swing? Stay tuned….