The World Poker Tour (WPT) has a new owner after Allied Esports Entertainment announced overnight it had signed a definitive agreement to sell off its all poker-related business and assets including the WPT brand to US growth equity firm Element Partners, LLC.
The deal will see Allied Esports, which is jointly owned by Chinese online games operator Ourgame International Holdings and American oil and gas company Black Ridge Acquisition Group, pocket a tidy US$78.25 million of which around US$68 will be paid immediately in cash and the remainder based on certain revenue targets from tournament buy-ins over the next three years.
The WPT has long been one of the world’s leading poker brands and is credited with helping spark the global poker boom of the early 2000s via its late night tournament broadcasts featuring commentary from Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. Sexton sadly passed away last September after battling cancer.
It is now yet known what impact if any the sale will have on the WPT’s global catalogue of live events, which includes WPT Australia – held for the first time at The Star Gold Coast in 2019. The WPT’s first ever Australian main tour event had been planned for 2020 but was cancelled due to COVID-19. The WPT’s online platform, ClubWPT, also saw strong growth in 2020 with new subscriptions rising 61% in the third quarter of 2020.
“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,” said Allied Esports CEO Frank Ng.
“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.”