Partypoker Owners in $5.2 Billion Merger Talks

Partypoker’s owners, GVC Holdings, have resumed talks about a $5.2 billion merger with Ladbrokes Coral 12 months after the previous discussion broke down. Also, read about the partypoker MILLIONS and how they had to restart the tournament.


Third Time Lucky?

Twice in 2016 there was talk about a tie up between GVC Holdings and the newly wed Ladbrokes Coral. This would have made them a real powerhouse in the industry had they actually pulled it off. In February 2016 GVC had actually managed to add to their online asset list, sitting alongside brands such as CasinoClub, Betboo, and Sportingbet. The deal with Ladbrokes Coral was said to be worth $4 billion in 2016, now at the end of 2017 a figure of $5.2 billion has been bandied about.

If the deal can be inked then GVC will have a 53.5% share of the new group, and Kenny Alexander, current CEO of GVC Holdings, will become the CEO of the combined group.


The Sticking Points

Muddying the waters somewhat is the triennial review of fixed odds betting terminals by the UK government. The situation right now is that the maximum bet allowed is £100 ($135), but potentially this could be cut to as little as £2 ($2.70) which obviously equates to a heavy loss of income. The Ladbrokes Coral group runs more than 3,700 high street bookmakers throughout the United Kingdom, with these machines accounting for a not insignificant amount of the company’s profits.

Kenny Alexander told Reuters that one of the reasons a new round of talks was started was because various deal structures had been put together for many of the different outcomes possible.

 “This triennial review has run and run and run and with the political climate in the UK who knows how much longer it may well run for? You can only sit and wait for so long.”

Experts have been predicting that the deal will be completed as it makes far too much sense to walk away this time. Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital told the BBC

"GVC got lucky at the third attempt and Ladbrokes Coral shareholders can count their winnings. Whilst this deal was always likely, most had thought GVC would wait until the government's triennial review of fixed odds betting terminals was finished before it would happen. The tie-up has always made sense.”

January 4th 2018 was the deadline to make a formal offer, or to walk away once again. Hopefully we will see soon what the decision was.


Partypoker MILLIONS

Online MTT star Jon “apestyles” van Fleet has won more than $1 million in the 2017 partypoker MILLIONS. This was the largest ever event in partypoker’s long history guaranteeing a $5 million prize pool and at least $1 million for the winner, which was just topped at $1,027,000 with 1,047 entrants putting up the dough.

Taking down this $5,300 buy in tournament has extended van Fleet’s online tournament winnings to more than $9.5 million. Surprisingly, he only has $270,000 from live tournaments, with the last cash coming way back in 2012.

Day One of the event ended in a strange fashion when the plan to play through the first 16 levels appeared to be forgotten about. At that point all the survivors were supposed to be heading to bed and coming back for Day Two, but play just continued for another half an hour, confusing the hell out of everyone. After pausing to take stock of what had just happened, the partypoker tournament organisers decided that the best way forward would be to “rewind” all play to the exact point when it was scheduled to end.

Twitter users were up in arms about what was going on.

“Probably one of the worst decisions I’ve seen in online poker ever. Now someone that busted can win the tourney because of a glitch? Terrible decision and terrible business by @partypoker”

“I’ve never seen anything reversed after it happened in the history of poker.”

Patrick Leonard, a partypoker brand ambassador, was defending his employers as much as he possibly could.

“I understand completely how sad it is for the guys who managed to win lots of chips in this relatively low amount of time, but it doesnt change much, the tournament was never going to play longer and if they busted they would have been given ev back. Nobody has been f**ked.”

By Day Three though, everything had mostly been forgotten and there were only 25 players remaining, with a guaranteed $29,783 for everybody left. Van Fleet was down to 20 big blinds at this point, with Ludovic "FilthyTrousers" Geilich leading with 100.


It took only two hours for the final table to be formed after the mercurial Viktor "Isildur1" Blom busted in tenth place. After that the action speeded up somewhat and we were soon getting ready to see Jon van Fleet trying to take down the first ever $1 million plus score of his long career against “N0-IPTRI4I2I", who was at a slight chip disadvantage when play began. “Apestyles” was quick to let his opponent know just who he was messing with though, and by the time the end came he was holding a 12 to one chip advantage. $651,118 for a runner up doesn’t feel too shabby though.


2018 to Be Even Bigger and Better

After running what is the most prestigious event on partypoker’s history the men in charge have made it clear that next year will be even bigger and better. John Duthie, President of partypoker LIVE said

"I love the concept of a MILLIONS leg on partypoker, it gives us the opportunity to bring together our MILLIONS players from all over the world at the end of the year to compete for an unprecedented prize pool. I was a little nervous about trying this concept out, but players supported us this time so we should return the favour and go for a record-breaking online prize pool in 2018.”

Time will tell if the hype is still with us at the end of 2018.