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Former CEO Baazov leads Amaya takeover bid

Tue, Nov 15, 10:00am by Bren O'Brien

Just weeks after a potential merger with William Hill was scuppered, Amaya’s former chief executive has offered to buy the online gambling company for US$2.56 billion.

Amaya, the owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt as well as BetStars, StarsDraft, European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and Asia Pacific Poker Tour, was courted by William Hill in October.

But the deal fizzled out in a week, with a leading William Hill investor objecting to the deal, which would have been a merger of equals.

Now David Baazov, Amaya former chief executive, has put together a consortium to make an offer for the Canadian company said to be worth around C$24 per share, a 30.9 percent premium on Amaya’s Friday close.

Baazov, 36, already owns 17.2 percent of Amaya, including options and has put together a proposal with four funds, which have committed C$3.65 billion as well as Baazov’s shares.

He had made a C$21 bid to take the company private in February this year but that fell when he was charged with insider trading by Quebec’s securities regulator over the takeover of the Rational Group, which then owned Pokerstars.

The company announced he was taking an indefinite paid leave of absence at the time.

But he has burst back into the scene with an audacious offer which will now be considered.,

Amaya reported on Monday that revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30 totalled US$270.8 million, up from $247.3 million in the same quarter last year.

The better than expected results as led the company to say it expects revenue for 2016 to come in at between $1.137 billion and $1.157 billion compared with earlier expectations for between $1.127 billion and $1.157 billion.

The company’s forecast for adjusted net earnings was also updated to between $344 million and $354 million compared with its earlier outlook for between $332 to $352 million.


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