Full Tilt Poker Near Relaunching, Latest Developments

Full Tilt Poker offices have been teaming with activity the past few weeks.

All systems point to “go” for the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker.

On February 14th last month in Dublin, Ireland, the company incorporated itself as “New Full Tilt Limited” with Laurent Tapie listed as its Director. They registered a similar filing in Malta last week.

The company began hiring new employees earlier this month as well, a first since Black Friday.

New Full Tilt Poker brought on former Partouche Group manager Prosper Masquelier as a second director in March. Masquelier co-founded the International Stadium Poker Tour (ISPT) with Laurent Tapie. At that point, they financed New Tilt with €1M in capital.

Tilt even reapplied for its gaming license with the AGCC, an absolutely required step toward relaunch–and one that would not have been done until Tapie had all of the elements it needed in place to get Tilt reinstated.

(Read more of a recent history recap of Tilt-Tapie here)

As we first reported on Insider last month, the major impediment to Groupe Bernard Tapie‘s acquisition of Tilt was simple: GBT didn’t have–or wasn’t willing to pony up–all of the money required to complete the deal.

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However, we learned that GBT was able to secure additional financing to come up with the approximate $225M needed to push the acquisition over the finish line.

The purpose of the “secret” Dublin investor in late March was to hammer out the terms and details of that new money. That was accomplished, and since then, New Tilt has been steadily pushing forward towards relaunch.

We’ve further learned that since June of 2011 when the AGCC revoked Tilt’s gaming license, despite laying off/losing over 40% of its total staff, the company still kept a large stable of its engineering and mid-level Marketing talent in tact. While there was a massive “brain drain” of senior leadership from Tilt, keeping more affordable salaries in place helped assure Groupe Bernard Tapie that there would be some continuity in technology, service, and marketing if their acquisition was finalized. According to sources, many of these employees “checked in and out of the office” for months with barely a thing to do. It was almost like a paid leave of absence.

Also, Ray Bitar has been active in the negotiations with Tapie, and has provided GBT with operational insight to the business. While we haven’t heard if Bitar will be involved in any capacity once the site relaunches, we can’t imagine a scenario where he is.

Finally, according to sources, while GBT plans to offer past FTP shareholders the opportunity to reinvest (at a much smaller stake) into New Tilt, we have not spoken to any shareholders who have had contact with GBT or Ray Bitar about the acquisition at this point.

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