PokerStars Finalizes Deal to Buy Full Tilt Poker
Months of speculation finally ended yesterday with the long-awaited announcement that PokerStars has acquired the assets of Full Tilt Poker.
The deal is expected to close within seven days and involves Full Tilt agreeing to forfeit its assets to the US government, which will then receive $547 million from PokerStars over the next three years.
Once the asset swap has been completed, PokerStars has 90 days to refund approximately $184 million owed to former Full Tilt customers outside the US.
The US government will pay out the $150 million owed to former Full Tilt clients in the US via a claim remittance process.
Civil Charges Dropped, Criminal Charges Remain
The agreement will also see the US government drop civil charges levied against Full Tilt and PokerStars for offenses including wire fraud and money laundering, but criminal charges against individuals involved in both companies -- including Chris Ferguson, Ray Bitar, and Howard Lederer -- will remain in effect and can be pursued by US authorities.
The US government, Full Tilt and PokerStars have all released press releases confirming the news with each emphasizing that they hope to close the deal quickly and return over $300 million in funds owed to players.
Those funds have been tied up for well over a year, making it very welcome news to both players affected and the poker industry as a whole.
Full Tilt Back Up and Running Within 90 Days
PokerStars also announced that it plans to operate Full Tilt as a separate brand and one of its primary goals is to get the site back up and running as soon as possible.
Once the deal is concluded PokerStars specualtes Full Tilt Poker will be back up and running in most markets within 90 days.
The agreement also stipulates that PokerStars and Full Tilt will be allowed to apply to operate online poker sites in the US if state or federal law is changed to allow for it.
This is a particularly surprising development as many felt the two companies would be barred for many years from operating in the US, even if laws were changed to allow for legalized online poker.