Will PokerStars’ Parent Company Amaya go private?

Amaya Inc. the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt may go private if the board accepts the offer of complete acquisition by its own CEO David Baazov. In a surprising announcement via a press release, Baazov declared his intentions to acquire Amaya through an all-cash proposal. He said, he is currently in discussion with a group of investors and together they can offer the total price of all public and private shares.david-baazov-amaya-pokerstars

Currently, Amaya trades on the Toronto Stock exchange (since 2013) and on the NASDAQ (since June 2015). Baazov said that he and his investor consortium will propose to acquire Amaya at a purchase price of CDN$21.00 per common share, representing a 40 percent premium to Friday’s closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In 2014, Amaya Inc. acquired the Oldford Group Limited, the parent company of Isle of Man-headquartered Rational Group Ltd., the owner and operator of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands, in an all-cash transaction for an aggregate purchase price of $4.9 billion. Since then, Amaya has steered away the direction of business of both the poker brands to derive maximum benefits.

As quoted by Casino.org, “Amaya’s $4.9 billion buy-out of PokerStars in 2014 was heavily leveraged, and there’s been a sense among poker players ever since that the company has been neglecting its customers in the interests of paying back debts and pleasing its shareholders.”

Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus quickly applauded Baazov’s announcement and supported decision by calling it a good move for the poker industry. He says, “Paying back the debt was fine and the company is in a very good position to do so, but providing growth and satisfying public shareholders and analysts, is sometimes an opposite goal. Innovation and growth need investment and taking risks. Pokerstars has enough funds to invest, but had the obligation to show analysts immediate return. It was impossible to develop a long-term strategy, everything was focus on: Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4. The management was not driven by long-term approach, but by short term return. It was frustrating. It was legit, but it doesn’t help poker, and those who love that industry.”

Nice hand David. GG. I hope it is not your last move. – Alex Dreyfus

Dreyfus added, “The delisting of PokerStars that would follow a successful buyout operation is instead what the industry needs to grow since “after a cycle of 12 years, poker is in an interesting situation. As an entrepreneur – with a leap of faith – investing millions and all my will into the next boom, I believe in a potential driven by the innovation, the risk and an understanding of disruption. I can sense that with this financial move, David Baazov will re-invigorate the poker landscape.”