Friday June 13, 2014 : AMAYA – POKERSTARS DEAL RESURFACES (Update)
Trading in Amaya shares halted following 28.7 percent surge in stock price.
Las month's rumours of an acquisition deal featuring Amaya Gaming and the Isle of Man online poker giant The Rational Group returned with a vengeance Thursday following a Bloomberg business news report quoting two insiders who revealed that an agreement is imminent.
Blackstone Group LP’s credit business, GSO Capital Partners LP, is among the backers of Amaya’s bid, arranging more than $1 billion in financing, according to one anonymous Bloomberg source.
Giving credence to the rumours, trading in Amaya was halted in Toronto Thursday after the stock surged 28.7 percent in two days. The stock was halted for pending news, according to a statement from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.
Montreal-based Amaya, which over the past few years has acquired important online gambling companies like Chartwell Tech, Ongame and Cryptologic, generated C$155 million in revenue last year, Bloomberg reports.
Such an ownership change at the Rational Group could enable subsidiary Pokerstars to overcome "bad actor" problems and access the evolving US regulated online gambling market.
Amaya shares have appreciated by 77 percent in the first six months of 2014.
Communication execs for both Amaya and Rational declined to comment when approached by the media.
Bennett Goodman, head of Blackstone’s credit business, said at the firm’s fourth investor day in New York that his company is preparing to announce its biggest yet credit deal, worth over $1 billion and involving an unidentified North American company.