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PokerStars' Parent Could Get Offer From CEO

Potential All-Cash Offer Estimated To Be Worth $2.8 Billion


The CEO of the parent company of the world’s largest poker site intends to make an all-cash offer worth roughly $2.8 billion for the entire company, according to a company press release Monday.

Amaya Gaming Group, a publicly traded Canadian gaming giant, would be taken private if a group of investors, led by CEO David Baazov, acquire the company. Amaya bought PokerStars and its sister site Full Tilt in 2014 for $4.9 billion.

PokerStars said in a statement that a special committee for Amaya formed to oversee the situation 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.”

Baazov currently owns about 18 percent of the company, according to The Financial Post. News of his intended offer shot Amaya stock up 27 percent early Monday morning.

PokerStars received its first U.S. online poker license late last fall when New Jersey gaming regulators gave it the green light to open for business in the near future. The company said that it will launch sometime in the first half of 2016, but it wasn’t more specific.

Other brands that Amaya owns include BetStars, StarsDraft, the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.

Amaya is currently fighting a court order in Kentucky that says PokerStars owes the state $870 million for doing business there between 2006 and 2011. PokerStars settled its Black Friday case with the federal government in 2012 for nearly $731 million without admitting to any wrongdoing.

PokerStars, which has nearly 70 percent of the worldwide online poker market, is becoming increasingly well-positioned in California, one of a few states currently considering online poker regulation. The New Jersey license makes the so-called “bad actor” provision a “moot argument,” a California tribal gaming insider told Card Player last month.