Report: $1 Billion-Plus in Funding for Amaya’s Purchase of PokerStars

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According to Bloomberg, the price tag for Amaya Gaming’s rumored purchase of PokerStars’ parent companycould be more than $1 billion. The news outlet, which released a series of articles on Thursday about the potential acquisition, said, “Blackstone Group LP’s credit business, GSO Capital Partners LP, is among the backers of Amaya’s bid, arranging more than $1 billion in financing.”

Trading of Amaya’s stock in Toronto was haltedmidday Thursday after it had risen 28% in two days and 17% on Thursday alone. The reason, according to multiple reports, is a forthcoming acquisition of PokerStars’ parent company, Rational Group. E-mails from PocketFives requesting comment sent to Amaya and Rational were not returned at press time; Bloomberg could not procure comments from either company.

Up in the air is what exactly Amaya would be acquiring. Bloomberg reported that the deal is for PokerStars‘ parent company, which would theoretically also include Full Tilt Poker, which Rational Group acquired in the middle of 2012 upon its settlement with the US Department of Justice. Other possibilities we’ve heard include the Full Tilt Poker brand and software as well as the potential for a reverse takeover, as reported by CalvinAyre.com, which originally broke the story.

As far as the funding goes, Bloomberg reported, “Blackstone, based in New York, is preparing to announce its largest-ever credit deal, with more than $1 billion of fund commitments‚Ķ The agreement, which the firm expects will be announced as soon as today, is an acquisition financing for a North American company.” The company in question was not revealed, although the general consensus is that the funding is earmarked for Canadian-based Amaya.

As of press time, no deal for Amaya to acquire PokerStars had been announced, nor had any formal announcement of the $1 billion in funding from Blackstone. The latter extended up to $160 million in credit to a subsidiary of Amaya late last year.

PokerStars has run into trouble acquiring a license in New Jersey and circumventing a “bad actor” clause in California. As one poster on Two Plus Two put it, “Rational realizes that it has little chance of breaking into the US market within the next decade, thus making PokerStars less valuable to Rational than to someone who has a better chance of breaking Stars into the US market. If the price is anywhere within that gap in value, it’s win/win (Rational sells for more than it’s worth to them; buyer buys for less than it’s worth to them).”

We’ll keep you posted on this still-developing story.

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2 COMMENTS

    • I know right? If they had no revenue and could post photos to the internet from a phone they’d be worth $3B