Amaya Gaming Group Inc has agreed to pay US$4.9 billion for full ownership of Oldford Group Ltd. Oldford is the parent company of Rational Group Ltd, the world’s largest poker business and owner and operator of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands.
Once the deal is completed, Toronto-listed Amaya will be the world’s largest publicly-traded online gaming company, it said in a statement on Thursday. The boards of directors of both companies have already approved the acquisition. Amaya and Oldford anticipate that the deal will be completed on or about September 30, 2014.
Under the deal, the shareholders of privately-held Oldford Group will dispose of their shares to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amaya. Oldford’s chief executive and other principals of the company will resign from all positions with Oldford and its subsidiaries on completion of the transaction, Amaya said in the statement.
The deal will be financed through a combination of cash on hand, new debt, a private placement of subscription receipts, a private placement of common shares and a private placement of non-voting convertible preferred shares, it added.
Rational Group’s executive management team will be retained and online poker services provided by PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be unaffected, Amaya said, adding that players “will continue to enjoy uninterrupted access to their gaming experience”.
The online poker platforms PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are some of the world’s most popular and profitable online poker brands with more than 85 million registered players on desktop and mobile devices.
PokerStars has been expanding its presence in Asia and earlier this month it announced that its Asia Pacific Poker Tour will head to Beijing in July for the inaugural Beijing Millions tournament.
“This is a transformative acquisition for Amaya, strengthening our core B2B operations with a consumer online powerhouse that creates a scalable global platform for growth,” said David Baazov, CEO of Amaya.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau