Bally’s Corp. has been in full acquisition mode this year, having already purchased five entities before setting its sights on Allied Esports Entertainment. It first submitted an unsolicited bid to buy all of the company’s assets before handing in a new offer to purchase just the poker assets, which includes the World Poker Tour (WPT). Allied had already been negotiating a possible sale of those assets with Element Partners, and Bally’s entrance triggered a bidding war that seemed to end a couple of days ago when Element upped the stakes. However, as the clock was counting down to 5 PM on March 29, it turned out that things were only just beginning to heat up. When time expired, only one of the two buyers remained standing.
WPT Could Soon Have a New Owner
It all started when Bally’s submitted a bid of $100 million, through a mixture of cash and stock, to Allied to purchase all of the company’s assets and force Element out of the picture. That bid trumped the initial $78.25 million offer from Element, which then countered with a $90.5 million bid to purchase Allied’s poker assets. Next, Allied responded with what Allied called a “superior” bid of $105 million in cash for the same assets, and the race was on, with only days remaining before the deadline of March 29.
Not willing to be outdone, Element countered once again; however, it didn’t come back over the top with a higher bid. Instead, as the original suitor, Element matched the $105-million offer from Bally’s and emerged victoriously. Allied’s Board of Directors has already unanimously approved the deal with Element, according to a press release, calling the latest counteroffer made by Bally’s “no longer superior.”
Still Some Room for Negotiations
Even though the deadline for bid submissions has ended, there is apparently a clause in the purchase agreement that could give Bally’s a chance at a rematch. The sale has to be approved by Allied’s shareholders, and the agreement carries a stipulation that additional offers could still be considered. If Bally’s is really serious about winning the bidding wars, it could try to find a way to get back into the ring.
At this point, that isn’t very likely to happen. While live poker is making a slow comeback following the COVID-19 pandemic, Bally’s has its hands in a number of new entities right now, including a $2.74-billion merger with Gamesys Group, that it might be time to move on. If it does want to try for another run, Bally’s will need to move quickly, as Allied and Element expect to close the sale before the end of April, as long as shareholders and regulators have no objections.