The Chinese-owned gambling giant Allied Esports Entertainment has agreed to sell its World Poker Tour assets to Element Partners.
Elsewhere.- The Chinese-owned gambling giant Allied Esports Entertainment has sold its World Poker Tour brand assets to the private investment vehicle Element Partners for US$78.25m.
The agreement has already been approved by Allied Esports’ board of directors but has yet to be approved by the company’s shareholders. It ill also require regulatory approval.
Element will make an upfront payment of $68.25m. It will also pay a fully guaranteed revenue share of 5 per cent of WPT-branded tournament entry fees on Element-owned or licensed gaming platforms, up to a maximum of US$10m, payable over three years from the closure of the deal.
The company said in a press release that the transaction is expected to close in late January or early February 2021.
Both companies have also discussed the possible sale of Allied Esports, the giant’s esports business, given the “rapid growth and popularity of gaming and esports during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Upon completion of the WPT transaction, should the sale of the esports business also be completed, Allied Esports Entertainment would proceed under a new name as a publicly traded holding company focused on online entertainment.
Frank Ng, CEO of Allied Esports Entertainment, said: “Due to Covid-19’s impact on the company’s overall revenue generation and profitability timeline, we believe the forthcoming sale of the WPT business will garner significant capital and an avenue to determine new opportunities that will deliver accelerated returns for our stakeholders.”
World Poker Tour in history
The World Poker Tour brand and business has grown considerably since its 2002 inception.
The brand has live poker events in all five continents, as well as a popular television show with a 150 million-strong audience.
WPT initially went public in 2003 and was later purchased by PartyGaming for $12m, plus a related revenue share.
In 2015, the company was purchased for $35m by the Chinese firm Ourgame International Holdings Limited and then acquired by NASDAQ-listed Black Ridge Acquisition Corp for $50m in 2019.
In a press release the company said 2020 was an exceptional year for WPT: “With in-person events postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19, WPT’s flagship online subscription platform, ClubWPT, increased new registrations by 61 per cent, exceeding registrations during the full year of 2019.”
2020 also saw the World Poker Tour launch its first event in India, through a partnership with India’s leading online poker platform, Adda52.
The popular poker tournament also returned to Cambodia.
The shift online also led to WPT’s largest event in its 18-year history with 2,130 entries for the WPT Online Championship.