Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. recently announced that it has sold its poker-related business and assets, including the World Poker Tour (WPT). The company has operated the WPT brand since 2018, but will now focus on using its financial resources to explore more opportunities in the online entertainment industry.
WPT Deal Likely to be Completed by Early Feb 2021
WPT’s newest buyer is Element Partners, LLC, a private investment firm. Under the acquisition deal worth $78,250,000, Element will make an upfront payment of $68,250,000.
The remaining $10 million will come in the form of a fully guaranteed revenue share of 5% of entry fees for tournaments associated with the WPT that will run on gaming platforms owned and operated by Element. That amount will be payable over three years after the completion of the transaction.
The deal is now up for discussion among Allied Esports’ shareholders following approval from the company’s board of directors. Once the shareholders give the nod and regulatory approvals are granted, the transaction will move to the final phase and is expected to be completed in late January or early February 2021.
Esports Business Up For Sale Too
Allied Esports also revealed in its recent presser that it also intends to sell its eSports portfolio. This is mainly driven by the massive growth enjoyed by the iGaming sector, including eSports, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lake Street Capital Markets is currently facilitating the sale, though a potential buyer has yet to be identified.
With the acquisition of the WPT and the possible sale of its eSports business as well, Allied Esports will operate under a new name as a publicly traded company, according to the press release.
WPT’s Ownership History
The WPT was founded in 2002 by Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman. It has since become a prominent brand in the global live poker and televised gaming and entertainment industry, though it also went through multiple ownerships.
The first one took place in 2009 when the brand was sold to PartyGaming for $12.3 million. The network ultimately secured the acquisition deal amid offers by other interested business entities such as Mandalay Media and Gamynia Limited.
PartyGaming greatly contributed to WPT’s global expansion and growth. Under the network, the brand was able to hook up with other companies to hold events in various locations around the world. One of them was Ourgame International Holdings Ltd which would eventually buy the brand for $35 million in 2015.
In 2018, when mergers and acquisitions dominated the business headlines, Black Ridge Acquisition Corp completed a $213.8 million deal to acquire both the WPT and Allied Esports International Inc. Both companies combined and went on to operate under the current name Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc.
During the time, the goal was to have an overlap of ideas between esports and poker which was hoped to boost growth for both assets. The development of the HyperX Esports Arena, which went on to play host to selected WPT live final tables, was among the first signs of that initiative.
Now that Allied Esports has effectively separated its poker and eSports assets, the company is expected to introduce major changes to its operations.
Frank Ng, Allied Esports CEO, recognized WPT’s massive contributions to the company, highlighting the impactful results it was able to deliver in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WPT Expected to Boost its Online Offerings
WPT CEO Adam Pliska has welcomed the deal, saying it would allow the brand to grow further and take advantage of new opportunities. Pliska said they’re gearing up for another exciting chapter for the tour, and they intend to continue bringing the best poker experience to players and fans around the world.
The brand is expected to boost its online tournament offerings, which enjoyed massive success in 2020. With the live poker scene essentially shut for most parts of the year, the WPT joined the online trend by holding major online festivals, including the record-breaking $100 million-guaranteed WPT World Online Championships in partnership with partypoker.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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