Allied Esports Back With Element Partners, Agrees to Sell World Poker Tour for $105m

  • Element Partners upped its offer from $90.5m to $105m
  • Element’s first offer in January was for $78.25m with partial payment coming from tourney fees
  • Bally’s has stepped in multiple times, its most recent bid of $105m coming last week
  • WPT events have returned to casinos after spending most of 2020 online
World Poker Tour table
After Bally’s upped its bid to buy the World Poker Tour from Allied Esports to $105m, Element Partners has come back and matched it, an offer to which Allied has agreed. [Image: Flickr.com]

Update July 13, 2021: Allied Esports has announced the completed sale of World Poker Tour assets and businesses to Element Partners, following stockholder approval on July 1.

Element matched Bally’s price

The World Poker Tour (WPT) carousel has come back around to Element Partners, LLC yet again. On Tuesday, Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc. announced that it has amended its stock purchase agreement with Element and is once more ready to sell it the WPT.

a 13.8% increase from the previously agreed upon $90.5m price

Per the new agreement, Element Partners will buy Allied’s poker-related businesses and assets, which include the World Poker Tour, for $105m, a 13.8% increase from the previously agreed upon $90.5m price.

Allied’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved of the change to the agreement. Based on Tuesday’s and previous press releases, the agreement includes what sounds like an “out” clause that allows Allied to go with another bid if it considers that competing offer to be a “Superior Proposal” than the one Element has put forth. The Board does not consider Bally’s standing bid to be such a “Superior Proposal” and thus is prepared to move forward with Element Partners.

The two companies expect the deal to close by the end of April.

Round and round they go

Allied Esports Entertainment has been going back and forth with Element Partners and Bally’s Corporation most of this month, though the news of the WPT sale began in January. On January 19, Allied announced the original agreement with Element to sell the Tour for $78.25m. Most of that purchase price – $68.25m – was going to be in cash. To make up the remaining $10m, Element would have given Allied 5% of World Poker Tour tournament entry fees for three years.

$100m bid was not just for the World Poker Tour, but for all of Allied Esports Entertainment

The goal was to have the deal closed by late February or early March, but on March 5, Allied Esports announced that it received an unsolicited offer from Bally’s Corporation. The $100m bid was not just for the World Poker Tour, but for all of Allied Esports Entertainment. Not much else was said about it until March 16, when Allied revealed that Bally’s had revised its offer, taking it down to $90m, but limiting it to just the WPT and Allied’s poker assets. This the Board considered a “Superior Proposal” to Element’s, so it gave Element Partners until March 19 to came back with something better.

Element did so, offering $90.5m for the World Poker Tour without any of the tournament fee complications and adjusting some of the other financial terms in the original agreement. Once again, Allied and Element were in business.

But then Bally’s returned with another bid last week, this time for $105m, which Allied deemed a “Superior Proposal” again. Allied gave Element another chance to revise its purchase agreement and now it has, matching the $105m price tag and satisfying Allied’s Board of Directors.

WPT back in the casinos

Like all of the live poker world, the World Poker Tour had to cancel/postpone most of its events in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, online poker exists, so it was able to organize some large events on partypoker, including the WPT Online Championship in May, the WPT World Championship in August and September, the WPT Online Poker Open for New Jersey players in December, and WPT Montreal Online in January 2021.

With an increase in vaccinations, particularly in the United States, and with casino safety measures in place, the WPT has gotten back to live Tour stops, starting with the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida, this past January. The latest events on the Main Tour to get back to live action have been WPT Russia at Casino Sochi and WPT at Venetian in Las Vegas. WPTDeepStacks Events have also been running.

Up next for the World Poker Tour is the popular WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the same venue as the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open.