Element Partners Acquires World Poker Tour For $78.25 million

Element Partners swoops in to acquire World Poker Tour for $78.25 million. What does this mean for the planned World Poker Tour 2021 in Australia? Read on as we break down this deal. This news shook the world of poker last week. Allied Esports entertainment signed a definitive agreement to sell off its brainchild World Poker Tour. The company that is buying World Poker tour is a private investment firm called Element partners.

 

The firm has made no comments as it pertains to the future of the World Poker Tour. However, WPT CEO Adam Pliska said that this deal is good and the poker world should expect good things. Despite hearing these words from the CEO, we are left with questions that we might not be getting answers to. One of the main questions for players and spectators of the World Poker Tour is How will this deal affect WPT 2021 in Australia?

The Sale

By the end of 2018, WPT has just gone from being a publicly-traded company as WPT Enterprise to joining a larger entity. Black Ridge Acquisition corporation acquired WPT Enterprises and Allied Esports International from Ourgame in China.

The two firms then merged towards becoming Allied Esports Entertainment (AESE) to concentrate on the video gaming industry and multiplatform content for esports and entertainment. WPT’s part of the settlement was to bring to the mix its experience in live shows, quality content, and customer interaction.

The whole deal was worth $213.8 million, with WTP’s valuation thought to have been about $50 million in the deal. In comparison, Ourgame International Holdings Ltd. acquired WPT Enterprises in 2015 for $35 million.

Allied Esports Entertainment is offloading WPT only after 5 years of owning the premier gaming platform. Element Partners, a private investment group, must feel like they got a good discount on the sale of WPT. The investment group agreed to acquire WPT and all its poker-related business assets for $78.25 million.

Element Partners has agreed to pay $68.25 million upfront. The rest will be paid off in the form of 5% of WPT-branded tournament entry fees on any gaming platform owned or managed by the investment group. However, the payment for WPT must be completed within 3 years after the deal has been made.

Why Is Allied Esports Selling Wpt?

Well, this seems like an easy question to answer, most people might say because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, you would be wrong as the company has steadily been growing.

Despite the rescheduling and cancelling of many in-person WPT functions, which usually take place across 5 continents, 2020 has been celebrated as an ‘outstanding year’ for the tour, resulting in a 56% rise in revenue from the ClubWPT online subscription network.

We think that Allied Esports might want to focus more on esports rather than poker. After the WPT acquisition in 2015, the company hoped to bring its esports and poker brands together. The company was creating some of the best poker content for players and fans everywhere. However, it would seem that the poker playing crowd doesn’t have much overlap with the esports brand.

For this reason, we think Allied Esport is willing to forgo World Poker Tour to focus exclusively on the ever-growing esports industry. With the sale of World poker tour, Allied may have to find itself a merger situation or maybe looking to be acquired by a more established company. The aim of this sale from Allied’s point of view is to use the capital from the sale to pursue more strategic options in the esports world.

Allied Esports Entertainment CEO Frank Ng acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic created a range of challenges for the WPT, even though it still produced “significant, productive results, primarily via its online platforms and services.” However, the esports company seemed to gain more traction on its own.

What’s Next For World Poker Tour

In the meantime, the World Poker Tour is heading into uncharted territory.  The future of the World Poker Tour remains largely unknown to the public. And the public will stay in the dark until the agreement comes to an end, which may happen over the next few weeks.

The Allied Board of Directors approved the agreement, which  are now in the hands of regulators and shareholders for approval. Nobody seems to anticipate some significant resistance to the sale.

The WPT is subject to the terms and conditions of the deal and cannot announce what’s happening with the WPT. CEO Adam Pliska said, “My senior management and I are enthusiastic about this next chapter and the enormous new possibilities for the brand and business of WPT.”

As the company resumed its regular activities this week, it steadily returned to live tournaments in America and other planned events. It seems like very little has changed.

Will The World Poker Tour 2021 come to Australia?

This is one of the most challenging questions as it pertains to this acquisition. If Australians looked at the WPT schedule in November 2020, the World Poker Tour will take place on the Gold Coast. The World Poker Tour DeepStacks Gold Coast Festival was scheduled for April 23 to May 3. The buy in was $1,500  for the WPTDS Main Event beginning on April 29 to showcase the series.

At about the same time at the end of 2020, Poker Media Australia interviewed WPT VP of Global Tour Management Angelica Hael, who said the target remains to schedule two or three stops per year in Australia.

However, a look at the WPTDeepStacks schedule this week reveals that the Gold Coast spot on the schedule has vanished. This could have occurred at any point in the past few weeks or months. However, we’ve only found this when we reviewed the status of the Aussie events this week. WPTDS Gold Coast remains on the “coming events” schedule, but not on the WPTDeepStacks page.

Quite possibly, in February, it will become clearer. If the agreement closes as expected, parties will announce the closure of the deal in the coming weeks.  Then the executives can let us in on their future plans.

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