Tuesday, March 29, 2016 : SPECULATION THAT AMAYA MAY BE INTERESTED IN ACQUIRING INTERTAIN
But recent events appear to have pushed back such a scenario.
Over the weekend the Canadian investment publication Motley Fool examined rumours that online gambling group Amaya Inc. is mulling an acquisition offer on Intertain, and appeared to come to the conclusion that recent regulatory events may have overtaken the possibility.
Motley noted that share prices in the two companies, which surged on the speculation that Amaya may extend its 2.7 percent interest in Intertain, had retreated on news of recent complications that include the insider trading charges against Amaya CEO David Baazov; his intimation that he wanted to take control of the company and regulatory uncertainty regarding online gambling.
The publication also notes the potential $870 million Kentucky court fine hanging over Amaya and Baazov's legal tussle with its former owners, and Moody's recent downgrading of Amaya to negative from stable.
Intertain suffered along with Amaya when the news of prosecutions against Baazov and other executives broke, the wide publicity dragging the two companies' share prices lower and raising the possibility that existing and future investors may be spooked.
Motley observes that prior to the Baazov news shares at Intertain "popped" over a few days when Intertain directors announced the forthcoming departure of CEO John Kennedy FitzGerald, and claimed that there were a number of potential suitors interested in acquiring the company. Despite its guidance that profits could reach $140-$160 million this year, the surge dissipated.
Given all the circumstances, Motley appears to feel that stock in the two companies is risky but cheap, commenting:
"If you’re tempted to catch a falling knife, Intertain looks to be trading at a lower valuation and comes with less baggage. So even if Amaya can’t come through with an offer, there’s still plenty of buyout upside left."
In related news, Intertain felt compelled to issue another press release defending its declining stock on Monday, observing that the publicity surrounding the Amaya affair has caused short-selling and a drop in the share price despite the fact that the issue related "principally to other parties."
"Intertain considers this highly unfortunate as it is entirely unwarranted by the facts and by a clear market misunderstanding or false information about those facts," the presser claims.
"Intertain is disappointed that misinformation and actions by parties seeking to exploit the company have caused harm to Intertain's shareholders and Intertain, particularly in light of the continued strong performance of the company and the ongoing strategic alternatives review which follows on a strong belief that the trading value of Intertain's common shares does not reflect their proper value."
CEO Fitzgerald claimed that despite the "efforts by some self-interested or misinformed parties" the company would continue to focus on building the business and creating shareholder value.
The press release uses the opportunity to slip in a commercial, noting that Intertain's principal business units continue to perform ahead of expectations and using the recently released Q4-2015 results to underline the claim.
"Business results continue to show growing value from the assets that have been acquired and Q4 again demonstrated the quality and performance of Intertain's business segments, and proved that the fundamentals of Intertain's business are strong and prospects are very encouraging," the media statement observes.
"The results show that Intertain's business is sound, that its customer base is stable and growing, and that its market position is unchanged as the largest online bingo-led operator in the world."