Allied eSports Entertainment to sell the World Poker Tour

world poker tour allied esports entertainment to sell world poker tour
  • Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc. a Chinese global cybersports entertainment company, and Element Partners, LLC, a private equity firm, have announced a definitive agreement under which Element will acquire poker-related businesses and assets, including the companies that make up the World Poker Tour ("World Poker Tour" or "WPT").
  • Under the terms of the agreement, Element will acquire the World Poker Tour for a total consideration of $78,250,000, consisting of an upfront payment of $68,250,000 and a fully guaranteed revenue share of 5% of WPT-branded tournament fees on Element-owned or licensed gaming platforms up to $10 million, payable within three years of closing. The Company's board of directors has approved the transaction, which is expected to close in late January or early February 2021, subject to approval of the transaction by the Company's shareholders and upon receipt of required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Impact of covid19 on the casino market

  • In addition, the rapid growth and popularity of gaming and cybersports during the COVID-19 pandemic spurred strategic interest in Allied Esports' cybersports business, and the Board agreed to explore strategic options for the cybersports business, including a possible sale.
  • Allied Esports has engaged Lake Street Capital Markets to assist in this process. No potential or specific buyer has been identified at this time, and there are no initial or ongoing negotiations on the sale of the cybersports business.
  • Following the completion of the WPT transaction and subject to the completion and completion of a possible sale of the cybersports business, Allied Esports Entertainment will continue to operate under its new name as a publicly traded holding company focused on using its cash resources to explore online opportunities, including but not limited to real money gaming and other gaming sectors.

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Frank Ng, CEO of Allied Esports Entertainment, commented:

"Despite the many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, WPT's business achieved substantial and impressive results, particularly through its online platforms and services, and made a significant contribution to the company.

In addition, Allied Esports, with its world-renowned HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas and best-in-class services, caught the market's attention as the eSports industry gained momentum during the pandemic."

Mr. Ng continued:

"Given the impact of COVID-19 on the company's overall revenue generation and profitability schedule, we believe that the upcoming sale of the WPT business will raise significant capital and open the door to identifying new opportunities that will bring accelerated returns to our shareholders."

The World Poker Tour has grown significantly since its inception in 2002.

Today, the iconic show is watched by over 150 million people worldwide each year, WPT events are held on five continents, and the company's prize money has exceeded US$ 1 billion.

WPT was originally taken public in 2003 before being purchased by PartyGaming for $12 million and a corresponding share of the revenue. In 2015, the company was purchased for $35 million by Ourgame International Holdings Limited and then acquired by NASDAQ-listed Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. for $50 million in 2019 in a larger deal that led to the company being listed as Allied Esports Entertainment.

2020 was an exceptional year for the pillars of WPT's online and interactive services business model. Due to the postponement or cancellation of in-person events due to COVID-19, WPT's flagship online subscription platform, ClubWPT, increased new registrations by 61% in Q3 2020, exceeding registrations throughout 2019.

ClubWPT's total subscription revenue also increased by 56% over the same period last year.

The biggest WPT event in its 18-year history brought 2,130 entries to the WPT online at partypoker and the company's biggest series, the WPT Online World Championship, with a guaranteed prize pool of $100 million.

The WPT TV show, which has been broadcast on linear TV since 2003, also reached new heights in distribution in 2020, peaking in overall viewership on both linear and OTT platforms last year. In Q3 2020, the audience increased by 368% compared to the same period in 2019, and in Q3 2020, the linear audience increased by 77% compared to the previous year.

Adam Pliska, long-time CEO of the WPT, said:

"I want to thank Frank Ng and the entire AESE management team for their support in enabling WPT to thrive during this period. My management team and I are very excited about this next chapter and the exciting new opportunities for the WPT brand and business."

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