The future of the Amaya group remains uncertain one month after the announcement that a panel of investors led by Amaya CEO David Baazov were to make a buy-out offer to the Canadian company, yet no further action has been taken on the issue. At the beginning of February, the Amaya company announced that it was due to receive a cash offer from the group but as of yet no offer has so far materialised.
The Montreal-based company owns several high profile poker sites such as the world’s number one online poker room, PokerStars, and other big names in the industry like Full Tilt. Poker fans will be interested to find out the future of the company, as if it does become privatised it may then potentially affect the future of the online poker sites it controls.
The lack of public announcements on the matter doesn’t necessarily mean that the planned buy-out isn’t going ahead, but it just leaves the state of Amaya Incorporated’s ownership rather ambiguous. A notice posted on the Amaya website last week stated that the company is taking steps to conduct a review of options, and that Baazov does intend to make an offer on behalf of his group of investors to acquire Amaya.
Despite this, the company has officially stated that “Amaya has not received an offer from Mr Baazov or otherwise”. The review committee has begun to engage the international investment bank Moelis & Company LLC to give an independent evaluation of Amaya’s financial situation in connection with any buy out offer that may be made by Mr Baazov at any point.
While the issue is being reviewed, Amaya has gone to the efforts of restricting Baazov’s access to any potentially confidential company information and has “implemented processes and restrictions and established guidelines regarding the ongoing management of Amaya in the context of a potential offer for Amaya by a group led by Mr. Baazov.”
Baazov is not the sole member of Amaya’s top management staff prepared to join the possible acquisition, however. The company announced back in February that “Amaya has been notified that Amaya’s Executive Vice President, Corporate Development & General Counsel (Marlon Goldstein), along with three other employees, may be participating in Mr. Baazov’s potential transaction proposal”.
There is also speculation that other iGaming companies are interested in the buy-out. It has been reported that popular gaming network Playtech may possibly be interested in the Amaya operation and is said to be considering the opportunity to take control of the world’s largest poker site, PokerStars. Bloomberg News and The Sunday Times both reported that Playtech are considering making a bid to acquire Amaya as part of its strategy to use £800m in available funds. Bloomberg commented that “potential bidders, said to include Playtech Plc, have held discussions to join a takeover bid being planned by Amaya’s chief executive officer and chairman David Baazov rather than launching their own, according to people familiar with the matter”.
Playtech is yet to confirm any of the rumours however regarding the Amaya buy-out. Some financial commentators have remarked that while Amaya could be a hugely lucrative proposition, it would be unchartered territory for Playtech. They have consolidated their position in iGaming sector and many had thought they would perhaps prefer to diversify into financial markets.
While Playtech have not officially confirmed any of the rumours regarding their possible Amaya buyout offer, the company’s chairman Alan Jackson has recently mentioned the fact that Playtech have been considering a number of acquisitions in the past few months.
“Playtech has always been highly disciplined when acquiring businesses and capabilities to ensure that they meet stringent criteria,” Jackson said several weeks ago, when he presented the annual results for the year 2015. “We are currently in live discussions on a number of potential acquisitions in the Gaming division”.