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  • Bernard Tapie Biography

    Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 by Mike

Bernard Tapie is a politician and businessman from France and was born on January 26, 1943, in Paris. He has also dabbled in acting, singing and hosting television shows. Tapie was the minister of city affairs in Pierre Beregovoy’s government. He specializes in recovering businesses that have declared bankruptcy – like Adidas, his most famous acquisition. Bernard Tapie was the proud owner of Adidas from 1990 until 1993 and owned two sports teams, which even won championships in cycling and football.

The cycling team owned by Tapie won the Tour de France two times and the French Championship was won by his football team 5 consecutive times. In 1993, the football team also won the Champions League.

In 1992, Bernard Tapie resigned from his post as a minister. In 2007, Bernard Tapie supported Nicolas Sarkozy, a candidate from the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) in that year’s presidential election. At present, he takes care of the Bernard Tapie Group. Most recently,Tapie was also in the news for his attempts to buy Full Tilt Poker in 2011.

Businesses and career

Bernard Tapie served in the military in his early days, after which he worked as a cars salesman for a short period. He then moved on to door to door sales of television sets. Tapie was clever and tactful in his sales. He earned some money and eventually bought over the store for which he worked in 1967. Soon, he realized how profitable the business of buying companies in distress was. Once these companies are dismantled or upraised, he used them to generate profits

Tapie owned a chain of stores that sold health products called La Vie Claire, which sponsored a cycling team with the same name. La Vie Claire is one of the strongest cycling teams of all time. The team was founded in 1983 by Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon, who both broke away from their former teams. The football club owned by Tapie was known as Olympique de Marseille football club, for which he served as the president between 1986 and 1994.


The first company in distress that Bernard Tapie bought was a factory called Leclanche Wonder, which made batteries. He later partnered with Francis Bouyges and together,they bought SAFT-Mazda and sold it in 1988 to Ralston, the owner of the famous company Energizer.

In 1990, Tapie acquired Adidas, which took an investment of 1.6 billion francs. This acquisition was financed by SDBO, which was Credit Lyonnais’ subsidiary. Two years later, Adidas reported a massive 500 million franc loss. Credit Lyonnais decided to resell Adidas to Robert Louis-Dreyfus in 1994 for 4.6 billion francs. Robert Louis-Dreyfus was then a part of their board of directors. Following this, Bernard Tapie took them to court and won a 101 million euros in 2009 for damages.

In 1995, Barnard Tapie decided to try his hand at more creative ventures, after his businesses left him bankrupt. Unfortunately, he lost eligibility to participate in politics and had to move away from football too. He then turned to film and starred in a movie titled Hommes, Femmes, Mode d’emploi. Three years later, he collaborated with Doc Gyneco, a French artist in a song called ‘C’est beau la vie’. A documentary was made on him in 2001 by Marina Zenovich, an American filmmaker. The documentary was named ‘Who is Bernard Tapie?’

Bernard Tapie and Full Tilt Poker acquisition

November 2011 saw the Bernard Tapie Group (GBT) signing a deal to buy Full Tilt Poker’s assets for $80 million dollars. Full Tilt Poker agreed to give up its assets to the Department of Justice (DOJ) as a part of the deal, so that the DOJ would then be eligible to sell the assets to GBT.

Shareholder’s approval – Full Tilt Poker had its license revoked after the Black Friday incident because of certain charges that were filed against the company. After the Bernard Tapie Group showed interest in buying the poker room, one of the first events was approval of the acquisition by Full Tilt Poker’s shareholders.

License renewal – The Bernard Tapie Group was planning on applying for a license from the Alderney Gaming Commission. Other applications for licenses were also to be made to the Kahnawake Gaming commission (KGC) in Canada. Full Tilt Poker held licenses with both bodies and they are well versed with the software and technology used by the website. Owing to the background, the license approval process was expected to be a brief one. The only new aspects to be considered by the licensing bodies were regarding the new ownership and management of the website.

Failure to acquire Full Tilt

According to the deal, all the American players were to be paid back by the DOJ. The Bernard Tapie Group was to assume all debt for those players from outside the United States of America. The amount owed to players is estimated at $390 million from which $150 million was owed to players in the states. According to the deal, GBT was to own a majority percentage of the shares.

Full Tilt Poker was pleased when the terms between the DOJ and GBT were finalized. Co-founder of Full Tilt Poker, Ray Bitar stated that the dedication that both GBT and DOJ were showing towards repaying the players was much appreciated by the poker site. All that was required was a final agreement terms to be drawn up.

Finally, after negotiating for 7 months, GBT’s attempts to acquire Full Tilt Poker came to an unsuccessful end. One reason behind this failure was the inability of the two parties to reach a common agreement about the repayments that were to be made to the players outside the United States. The issue arose from Tapie Group’s attempt to allow a majority, but not all of the players, to withdraw funds during the relaunch, a move not favored by the DOJ.

The second point of disagreement was linked to certain complications surrounding the legality of penalty under non-US laws. GBT characterized this point of disagreement as ‘unresolvable.’ The closure of this deal in a failed manner was a shock to most, for it seemed as though Full Tilt was to be relaunched by GBT as early as the end of April or the beginning of May, 2012.




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