The World Poker Tour (WPT) has announced that it has been sold by current owner Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc. to Element Partners, LLC, a privately-held investment concern. The deal is for all of the WPT’s poker-related business and assets, and it is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks, pending shareholder approval.
By: Haley Hintze
According to the press statement, the deal is valued at $78.25 million, with $68.25 million of that being an upfront payment and the remainder (up to $10 million), to be derived from a 5% share of WPT-tourney entry fees on owned or licensed online platforms over the next three years.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the sale, as parent company Allied Esports has declared that the situation has “driven strategic interest” in the company’s other esports business. That interest includes a possible sale of Allied’s other gaming interests, though it is unlikely to be re-merged with the WPT and its new ownership.
Regarding that new ownership, little is known about Element Partners. The entity appears to be based in Pennsylvania and among other bare facts, lists Andy Maunder as Chief Financial Officer and Todd Peterson as Chief Operating Officer. The company claims between two and 10 employees according to online business database entries, with annual sales far less than the announced value of the WPT deal.
Frank Ng, the CEO of Allied Esports Entertainment, offered this on the sale: “Despite the many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the WPT business has delivered substantial, impactful results, specifically through its online platforms and services, and has made meaningful contributions for the Company. 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.”
The sale continues the nomadic tale of the WPT’s 19-year existence, which saw the traveling poker tour go public soon after its explosion as a cable-GTV hit in the early 2000s. The WPT was later acquired and then sold on to several entities, including PartyGaming (later bWinParty), Ourgame International Holdings Limited — and then, following a crackdown by Chinese authorities against many things poker-related — on to Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. That in turn led to a rebranding in 2019 of the parent entity as Allied Esports Entertainment, leading up to the latest transition.