Amaya Inc, owner of online gaming brands PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, on Monday confirmed it has received a “non-binding indication” from its chairman and chief executive, David Baazov, to take the company private.
Mr Baazov – said to be in discussions with a group of unnamed investors – wants to take the Toronto-listed Amaya private in an all-cash CAD2.8-billion (US$2-billion) deal, proposing to pay CAD21 per common share, a 40 percent premium from Friday’s close.
The stock closed at CAD18 on Monday, up 20.1 percent on the day following the announcement.
Amaya’s stock price has declined from the CAD37 range around March last year to a low of CAD13.73 last week. The stock took a hit in November when the company slashed its revenue and profit outlook for 2015.
The offer comes less than two years after Amaya paid US$4.9 billion to acquire Oldford Group Ltd, parent company of the Rational Group Ltd, which operates PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.
No talks have so far been held between Mr Baazov and Amaya, according to a press release issued by Mr Baazov. The particular form and structure of the transaction have not been determined and there is no guarantee that a transaction will go ahead or be consummated, the release added.
Mr Baazov currently owns 18.6 percent of the outstanding shares of Amaya and options to buy 550,000 more shares, according to the release.
The company also issued a press release saying that its board of directors “has established a special committee of independent directors to review any proposal that may be forthcoming, as well as other alternatives that may become available to Amaya”.
“Amaya’s lead independent director, Dave Gadhia, will chair the special committee,” the firm said.
It added: “As of the time of this release, the special committee has neither received nor solicited a formal bid or offer related to a potential transaction and there can be no assurance that Mr Baazov’s intention will result in a formal bid or offer or that any such bid or offer will ultimately result in a completed transaction.”
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Daniel Boone Wayson
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