04/24/2012 : GROUPE BERNARD TAPIE CONFIRMS FTP DEAL IS OFF (Update)
GBT lawyer gives more detail
The Associated Press news agency has confirmed reports that Groupe Bernard Tapie is no longer interested in acquiring Full Tilt Poker, quoting a lawyer close to the negotiations.
Benham Dayanim told AP that GBT's $80 million initiative had failed to reach agreement with US Department of Justice negotiators over how quickly players with money tied up on the site would be repaid, and revealed that prosecutors changed their offer earlier this month and wanted players repaid in full within 90 days of the sale.
"We were not prepared to do that," Dayanim said. "The DoJ did not make that a deal-breaker until the very end."
Jerika Richardson, a spokeswoman for the U.S Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, declined to comment.
GBT was given a letter of agreement by the Department of Justice in November 2011 in hopes of brokering a sale and getting gamblers their money back. The Tapie group would have paid players outside the U.S., while Americans who gambled at the site would send claims to the Justice Department. Current investors with stakes in Full Tilt would not have been allowed to have a stake in the new company.
The Tapie group planned to restore balances immediately to let players play poker, but needed more time before allowing them to withdraw all their money from the site, Dayanim said, adding that the change came just as the deal with the Justice Department was being finalised.
"Clearly, we understood that they were negotiating with another party," Dayanim said.
Dayanim said the deal also failed because the group couldn't resolve whether creditors and courts would view the buyout as valid without coming after Tapie for Full Tilt's other debts. More time to restore player balances would have helped resolve that, but the 90-day demand made that unworkable, he said.
"Ultimately, we made the best offer we could make," Dayanim said.
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