Canada-based gaming company Amaya Inc is still waiting to receive a proposed buyout offer from its Chief Executive, David Baazov. The company has decided in the meanwhile to put in place restrictions on the management of the company and Baazov’s access to information as a safeguard.
The company had announced on February 1 that Baazov along with a group of investors was intending to make an all cash offer to buyout the company. On February 9th we reported Amaya Inc had hired Barclays Capital Canada Inc to examine the unofficial proposal.
An update posted on its website on March 2 has revealed that the special committee of independent directors of Amaya had been formed to review the offer. Since then the committee has been taking a number of steps in light of the pending bid. Although Baazov is yet to submit a formal proposal, the committee has appointed international investment bank Moelis & Company LLC to arrive at an independent valuation of the company.
Additionally, the committee has issued guidelines and restrictions on the management of the company’s operations. Amaya has also put in restrictions on the information that is available to Baazov, so as to limit his access to confidential information. Despite a great deal of speculation, the identity of investors with whom Baazov intends to make the bid is still under wraps. Playtech has however been widely discussed as a likely investor.
According to media reports, Playtech, which is based out of the Isle of Man was one of the potential investors who held discussions with Baazov for the proposed bid. The report said that Playtech has been considering an acquisition of a gaming site rather than launching one of their own.
Although Playtech has not issued any statement on the possible bid, the company’s chairman, Alan Jackson has said earlier that its gaming division was actively looking at acquisition opportunities. There are indications that Playtech is already in an advanced stage of discussions to take over OpenBet, a sports-betting platform that services clients such as Betfair, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill. Playtech has an ongoing partnership agreement with most of these companies to provide its software for their poker and casino offerings.
OpenBet is controlled by Vitruvian Partners, a private equity firm which has been looking to sell the company and is in the process of evaluating bids. The deal, expected to be in the region of £250-£300 million, could however raise monopoly worries given Playtech’s existing business relationships with OpenBet’s clients.
If Playtech proves to be one of the investors that is teaming up with Baazov then it could impair Amaya’s plans to expand into United States as Sagi the company’s founder has previously been convicted for fraud in United States.