Element Partners to Pick Up World Poker Tour for $78M
The World Poker Tour announced today, January 19, that Element Partners will buy the World Poker Tour and all of its assets from Allied Esports Entertainment for $78.25 million.
Interesting news, indeed.
The last time the World Poker Tour changed hands was when it was WPT Enterprises. In December 2018, Black Ridge Acquisition scooped up WPT Enterprises and Allied Esports Entertainment from Ourgame.
The $213.8 million deal focused on esports and video gaming. (The WPT part of the deal was worth $50 million of that.) The World Poker Tour and its “proven business model” would help with the “much bigger, higher-growth global esports business.” As the months became years, the only apparent connection between the WPT and esports was the filming of WPT final tables at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas.
Now, the World Poker Tour is on the road to new ownership again.
Press Release Leaves Much Unsaid
Element Partners is a privately-held investment vehicle used to acquire the World Poker Tour for $78,250,000 from Allied Esports Entertainment. Allied’s Board of Directors approved the deal, which will consist of an initial $68,250,000 payment and a 5% revenue share of WPT-branded tournament entry fees on Element-owned gaming platforms. That will max out at $10 million over a period of three years.
The deal is moving along quickly, and they expect to close on it in the coming weeks or in early February at the latest. Allied shareholders and regulators in appropriate markets must approve the deal as well.
When all is said and done, Allied will proceed under a new name after selling its poker portion of the business. The company will move forward to explore new “online entertainment” opportunities, possibly in the real-money gaming sector.
— Rob “Re4ge” Gonzales (@iamre4ge) January 19, 2021
Allied Esports CEO Frank Ng noted that the WPT delivered “substantial, impactful results” despite the pandemic challenges. The esports part of Allied did exceptionally well, though. Though the pandemic affected Allied overall, Ng said, “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.”
Trading on Nasdaq as AESE, Allied’s shareholders seemed pleased with the news. Shares went from $1.5662 at Monday’s opening this week and hit $1.9093 by Tuesday’s opening.
Interesting HyperX News
On January 13, 2021, Allied Esports announced that it renewed naming rights with HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor on the Strip. HyperX will retain the naming rights sponsorship of the venue.
HyperX Marketing Director Daniel Kelley called the arena a “best-in-class esports destination,” making no mention of poker. In fact, the press release fails to mention poker or the WPT at all.
It might mean something. It could mean nothing at all. Time will tell.
As a result, the esports venue's name will remain the same, with HyperX receiving ‘prominent’ branding and signage inside and outside of the facility.https://t.co/iGN9xTJS2N pic.twitter.com/d0Bb0z0JMh
— Esports Insider (@esportsinsider) January 13, 2021
What is Next for World Poker Tour?
The press release was vague, as those documents tend to be.
It did note that the WPT expanded into the online poker realm in 2020 with massive series. The World Poker Tour’s subscription online poker site, ClubWPT, experienced an increase in new registrations by 61% through Q3 2020. Further, WPT’s OTT household viewership increased 368% year-on-year, and linear household viewership grew 77%.
The World Poker Tour can’t say much until the deal is final, obviously. WPT CEO Adam Pliska noted, “My management team and I are excited about this next chapter and the tremendous new opportunities for the WPT brand and business.”
Pliska provided a bit more mystery with a video posted on social media just after the announcement. “We think this deal will allow the World Poker Tour to do a number of things that it’s always wanted to do. Unfortunately, I’m being told that, until the deal closes, I can’t really say much about the transaction.”
Allied Esports Entertainment Announces the Sale of World Poker Tour to Element Partners, LLC.
Here is WPT CEO Adam Pliska (@pliska007) with more.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) January 19, 2021