Monday June 16,2014 : AMAYA STOCK GOES THROUGH THE ROOF (Update)
News of acquisition deal with The Rational Group triggers a buying spree.
All eyes will be on the performance of the Amaya Gaming group shares on the Toronto market Monday to see if the stock's outstanding performance achieved last week can be sustained.
Local media report that following the news that the Montreal-based firm had agreed to buy the Pokerstars and Full Tilt parent company The Rational Group for $4.9 billion , the share price advanced 42 percent with five times normal volumes traded, ending the week almost double what it had been at the start.
The 33-year-old CEO of Amaya, David Baazov, said that the deal will transform Amaya into the biggest player in the global business of online poker, and that he aims to take Pokerstars back to the U.S.
Amaya lined up financing for the deal from lenders including Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays Plc, Macquarie Group Ltd. and Blackstone Group LP.
Montreal newspapers report that Baazov embarked on a growth strategy after joining the company several years ago, acquiring online gambling software providers Chartwell Technology and CryptoLogic, and Cadillac Jack, a maker of traditional slot machines. Amaya generated C$155 million ($142.6 million) in revenue last year.
“We built it all on a vision of convergence. It’s a very large industry and it’s going to continue to grow,” Baazov is on record as saying.
The combined company would have had $1.3 billion in 2013 sales and $474.8 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for 2013, according to an Amaya statement.
The Isle of Man-based Rational Group Ltd. has more than 1,700 employees, and can boast 85 million registered players worldwide.
Rational is owned by Oldford Group Ltd., in which Mark Scheinberg and other principals will sell their stock and resign from the company and all its subsidiaries as part of the agreement with Amaya.
Regulatory officials at the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey, have already confirmed that they are prepared to review the transaction to ensure compliance with regulatory standards, and could possibly lift the current two year suspension of Rational's application for an intrastate online gambling licence if requirements are met.
“We are also encouraged by this development and the expanded opportunities it might provide for New Jersey’s Internet gaming industry,” David Rebuck, director of the division, said last Friday.
Simon Holliday from research an consulting firm H2 Gambling Capital says that permission to operate in the massive US online poker market is important for Pokerstars future development and crucial for the growth of online gambling.
Referencing the Amaya-Rational deal, Holliday said:
“This could be massive as it should be the key for the PokerStars brand, technology, client lists and expertise all to gain access to the thus far slow-to-take-off U.S. onshore regulated market.”