WPT on the move
The World Poker Tour has a new home. On Monday, Allied Esports Entertainment announced that it has completed the sale of the venerable poker institution to Element Partners, LLC. Allied stockholders officially approved the divestiture on July 1.
Element’s total purchase price was $105 million for all of Allied’s poker-related businesses and assets, primarily the World Poker Tour.
“This is a momentous day for AESE and an opportunity to focus on growing the business in exciting and innovative ways,” said Allied Esports Entertainment CEO Frank Ng in a press release. “Congratulations to Adam Pliska and his entire team at World Poker Tour as they too move into a new, successful chapter.”
Bidding war begins
The path to this point was a back-and-forth that looked like it was going to end one way, only to take a turn and move in another direction more than once. Element Partners was the first company to put in an offer on the World Poker Tour, bidding $78.25 million in January. Of that, $68.25 million would have been paid in cash, while the other $10 million would have been generated from 5% of WPT tournament entry fees over a three-year period.
Allied Esports Entertainment agreed to the deal, but part of the agreement stipulated that Allied could back out if another company submitted a “Superior Proposal.” And that is exactly what happened.
In early March, Bally’s offered to buy the entire Allied Esports Entertainment company for $100 million, provided that the World Poker Tour was included and not stripped out to sell separately. It sounds like Allied was interested in doing business with Bally’s, but was not thrilled with selling the entire company, so on March 16, Allied announced that it had received a revised offer from Bally’s: $90 million for Allied’s poker business.
Seeing as it was the same deal as Element’s, but for $11.75 million more, without the cash/tournament fees split, and with an actual gambling company (I’m assuming that last point was a positive), Allied Esports determined that this was a “Superior Proposal” and was going to go with Bally’s.
Element didn’t give up
Element did have until March 19 to counter and it did so, offering half a million bucks more and altering a few other details that aren’t important to our current discussion.
Then, on March 25, Allied announced that Bally’s had five-bet to $105 million for the World Poker Tour, again calling it a “Superior Proposal.” Element had until March 29 to come up with another offer. It did, exactly matching Bally’s price, which was apparently all that was needed; it seems that Allied preferred to sell to Element, as it accepted that offer.
It does not seem like much will change with the World Poker Tour, as it operates largely independently from its parent company. The one change that we have seen this year is that the delayed final tables that had been slated to be held at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas were moved to PokerGo’s studios, as Allied Esports owns the HyperX Esports Arena.