Former Amaya CEO David Baazov Offers $6.7b Takeover Bid

Former Amaya CEO David Baazov Offers $6.7b Takeover Bid

Former Amaya Inc. chairman David Baazov has made a takeover bid for his old company that values Amaya at CA$6.7 billion (US$4.9b).

The bid is fully financed by four overseas firms and isn’t subject to financial conditions or due diligence. Baazov’s deal would pay CA$24 for each Amaya share and it includes a $200 million payment, which Amaya needs to make a $400 million scheduled purchased payment to former PokerStars’ owners Mark and Isai Scheinberg.

Baazov currently owns 17.2% of Amaya and would contribute his entire stake to the offer. According to Forbes, Amaya shares rose 16% to US$15.80 after Baazov expressed interest in taking over the company.

After running Amaya for a decade, Baazov acquired investments from major Wall Street players like the Blackstone group. He then used this capital to purchase PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker from the Scheinbergs in 2014.

This skyrocketed Amaya’s standing in the gaming world and gave them PokerStars—the world’s largest online poker site. Amaya has since spent time developing other channels at PokerStars like their sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and casino games.

But Baazov resigned from his position in August after being charged with insider trading by Quebec’s Autorité de Marchés Financiers. Not wanting to be a distraction, he quit his CEO position to deal with charges that he gave insider tips on Amaya deals in exchange for kickbacks.

This seemed like it would be Baazov’s last position in online gaming for a while. Furthermore, he’d talked about buying PokerStars and taking them private most of the year, with little to no action.

But now, Baazov has returned with a lucrative offer for one of the world’s largest iGaming companies. If Amaya agrees to the takeover bid, its investors would at least recoup most of their money after seeing Amaya share prices tumble 40% over the year.

As for Baazov and his overseas investment group, the risk seems worth the reward when considering that recent Amaya earnings reports show steady online poker revenue, rising casino profits, and improving sports betting revenue.

The latter has proven to be a big problem for Amaya since they can’t gain any traction with sports. They were even close to a merger with William Hill that was taken off the table just recently.

But it seems that Amaya’s multiple channels and cross-promoting could mean bigger business for the right buyer. And Baazov wants to let $6.7 billion ride on the outcome.

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