30 Jun

CEO Baazov isn’t the Only One bidding for Acquisition of Amaya, PokerStars

Amaya Shareholder Meeting Kept ConfidentialThere was certainly much to be discussed at Tuesday’s scheduled Amaya Shareholder Meeting, and while the bulk of that discussion has been kept confidential, it was at least divulged that there is more than one bidder looking to take over Amaya Gaming and all of its subsidiaries, including online poker giant, PokerStars.

For months now, Amaya Gaming has made headlines, and the majority of them have taken a negative turn. President, CEO and founder of the company, David Baazov, is currently taking a leave of absence from his position as he focuses on defending himself in an investigation into allegations of insider trading.

Baazov, a major shareholder in the company, has also made clear his intentions to buyout Amaya and privatize the business. But the guarded comments made by shareholders following Wednesday’s meeting revealed that Baazov isn’t the only party interested in an acquisition of Amaya.

The meeting took an unusual turn this week when the board decided to restrict all members of the press. Eric Hollreiser, VP of Corporate Communications, stepped outside to inform the media, “We’re treating it the way we feel is appropriate for shareholders this year.”

Shareholders Tight Lipped After Meeting

As the meeting came to an end, press hounded each member for a comment.

Baazov curtly told the Financial Post, “I’m just a shareholder of the company in support of management.”

New York investor Jason Ader, CEO of Spring Owl Asset Management, had little more to say. “It’s an interesting time for this company,” he said. “It’s got great assets, controversy, a lot of value and a dominant business.”

Press Release Reveals More Interest in Amaya

The real news came from Amaya itself in a press release issued after the shareholder meeting:

As previously disclosed, several parties, including David Baazov, who is on a leave of absence as Chief Executive Officer of Amaya, have entered into confidentiality agreements with Amaya. A number of these parties have received management presentations and are conducting due diligence. Recently, one more party entered into the process.”

There was no mention of who the new bidder might be, and a Special Committee assigned to review bids, as well as investigate the insider trading allegations against Baazov, was unwilling to disclose further details.

“The Special Committee believes the interests of Amaya and its shareholders are best served by maintaining confidentiality around the details of this process, but will provide further updates to shareholders as circumstances warrant,” read a statement from the committee.

3+ Potential Bidders for PokerStars Acquisition?

Potential Bidding War for Amaya, PokerStarsIn a previous report by Amaya, when referring to potential bidders for the company, the phrase “number of parties” was used. We know David Baazov is one, and Tuesday’s divulgence of “one more party” leads us to deduce that there are now at least three parties looking to acquire Amaya and it’s online poker giant, PokerStars.

Word around the industry water cooler says 888 Holdings and Playtech may both be in the running.

888 failed in its attempt to acquire bwin.party last year, which would leave the firm in a fine position to invest that money into another major online gambling operation. Similarly, Playtech failed to acquire Ava Trade and Plus500 due to regulatory issues, leaving the company with a vast bankroll to seek out new profitable acquisitions.