In Canada, entrepreneur David Baazov has abandoned his $6.7 billion deal to purchase Amaya Incorporated amid accusations that some shareholders had been demanding higher-than-expected premiums for their stakes in the Toronto-listed firm behind the online poker domain at PokerStars.com.
The former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Amaya Incorporated, Baazov resigned all his positions with the Montreal-based company in August after being charged by the Quebec securities regulator for allegedly communicating privileged information and attempting to influence the market price of the firm’s stock.
Although the charges from the Autorite Des Marches Financiers were heard in the autumn, no verdict has yet been forthcoming and Baazov remains Amaya Incorporated’s largest shareholder with approximately 17.2% of its issued and outstanding common stock.
“The decision to terminate my attempted acquisition of Amaya [Incorporated] was not an easy one,” read a statement from Baazov. “I retained a full suite of advisors, arranged committed financing and engaged in constructive negotiations with Amaya [Incorporated’s] board of directors. I submitted an unconditional [and] fully financed offer of C$24 per share, higher than my original announced intention to submit a C$21 per share offer.”
Baazov had expressed his interest in buying the Canadian company as early as February and declared last month that he had binding equity commitments with four investors that reportedly included Hong Kong-based Head And Shoulders Global Investment Fund and Goldenway Capital worth $3.45 billion to help finance his bid.
“However, during the discussions it became evident that the share price premium demanded by certain shareholders exceeded the price at which my investors and I would be willing to complete a transaction,” continued the statement from Baazov. “After consulting with my advisors, I determined that the best course of action for me and Amaya [Incorporated] would be for me to end my attempt to purchase the company.”
October saw Amaya Incorporated conduct merger negotiations with United Kingdom bookmaker William Hill that could have led to the creation of one of the world’s largest gambling conglomerates. However, the British company soon decided to abandon the talks following objections from a group of its majority stakeholders.
“As the founder of Amaya [Incorporated] this was not a decision I took lightly as it was always my intent to arrive at an outcome that was in the best interests of all shareholders,” read the statement from Baazov. “I wish my friends and former colleagues at Amaya [Incorporated] continued success in driving value for all shareholders.”