World Poker Tour Receives $105 Million Bid From Element Partners
The bidding war between Element Partners LLC and Bally’s Corporation to acquire the World Poker Tour (WPT) continues. On March 30, WPT’s parent company Allied Esports announced that Element Partners had come up with a bigger offer of $105 million, surpassing Bally’s latest bid of $100 million.
Element Partners, a private growth equity firm established in Pennsylvania, entered into an acquisition agreement with Allied back in January.
The deal, initially worth $78.25 million, was nearing completion when Bally’s got in the way with a higher offer. The casino company, which currently owns and operates 12 casinos across the US (but has no link with the Caesars Entertainment-owned Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas), offered to buy the WPT for $100 million.
Allied considered Bally’s bid as a “superior offer“, and gave Element until March 29, 2021 to negotiate an amendment to their existing stock purchase agreement. Otherwise, the deal would be terminated. Element re-upped the ante just before the indicated deadline, and now the venture capital firm appears to be the winner of the bidding war, unless Bally’s once again decides to interrupt and launch an even bigger proposal.
The battle to acquire one of the world’s premier real money poker brands has seen its potential selling price jump by over $25 million since January 2021.
Allied confirmed that the company’s Board of Directors unanimously approved to amend the pending stock purchase agreement with Element Partners following the latter’s $105 million acquisition offer.
Allied now determines Element’s latest bid as a “Superior Proposal“, but it still needs to gain approval from Allied’s shareholders. The negotiations are expected to be completed later in April, assuming the company’s shareholders give the go ahead.
But the battle is still far from over, as Bally’s could still very well make a counteroffer. Recently, the casino giant acquired British online software development and gaming business Gamesys for $2.8 billion.
Bally’s also usually buys properties for a bargain price. The question now is whether the company eventually proceeds with its plans to acquire the WPT, considering that the poker brand’s estimated market value now sits at $120 million.
Meanwhile, Element Partners continues to keep a low profile. Little is known about the company, other than having investments in the energy, industrial, and resource markets. Its initial agreement with the WPT reportedly began through informal talks.
WPT’s Previous Owners
WPT has been changing hands since it started in 2002. If was first acquired by partypoker in 2009 and then taken over by online gambling company bwin.party (a merger of PartyGaming plc and bwin Interactive Entertainment AG).
WPT was later sold to Chinese gaming manufacturer Ourgame in 2015 before being acquired by Black Ridge Acquisition Corp, now renamed to Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. Black Ridge was established by Lyle Berman, who also co-founded the WPT.