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It was reported on the 24th of April that PokerStars was in discussions to buy Full Tilt Poker. This news came out of nowhere, as GBT Groupe Bernard Tapie had been in negotiations with the US Department of Justice for months trying to acquire Full Tilt.
GBT has long been an on-again, off-again buyer of Full Tilt. Many thought the deal was finalized months ago, and the details just needed to be worked out; however, it turns out that was not the case. The DOJ had been speaking with other parties (PokerStars for one), and late stage talks failed. The DOJ’s possible deal breaking point was that ROW players must receive funds within 90 days. GBT was not prepared to meet this demand and talks were broken off.
Full Tilt currently owes 330 million to players since April of 2011. As of May 11, 2012, they have not paid a single dime of these debts. Players across the world have held their breath as Full Tilt promised repayment to players within a few months but as it turns out the money was never there. Months became a year and it was discovered that Full Tilt Poker was principally insolvent.
It was reported in late April by several news outlets that PokerStars had purchased Full Tilt for at least $750 million (possibly over $900 million). The first $330 million of the $750 million would be used to pay back player balances; the remaining funds would go to the US DOJ as a settlement. The Tapie Group confirmed the same day that their deal was off with the DOJ, after six months of speculation. All signs seemed to be pointing to a PokerStars buyout – still there was no announcement from PokerStars.
PokerStars and Full Tilt both issued statements that their internal discussions with the US Department of Justice were still ongoing and therefore confidential. All poker players know now, for sure, is that PokerStars is in settlement discussions with the DOJ. All the speculation and rumored deals have yet to be confirmed with a press release.
If PokerStars did buy Full Tilt, it is likely all players would receive their bankrolls in a timely fashion. After the Black Friday crackdown in April of 2011, PokerStars paid player balances within one week. Full Tilt’s players would love to see a PokerStars buyout, and if it happens soon, the poker economy might get a nice boost heading into the 2012 World Series of Poker.