Is A PokerStars Sale On The Cards?June 12, 2014 11:47 am
Since being locked out of the US igaming market in 2011, PokerStars has tirelessly been trying to find a route back into the potentially lucrative market. Having flaunted the UIGEA of 2006, however, the online poker behemoth has been labelled a ‘bad actor’ and had its license applications turned down in the regulated states of Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Now, if the rumours are true, it would appear PokerStars may be trying an alternative approach and seeking a sale/merger in order to realize its American dream. Amongst those companies which have been linked so far with a possible partnership deal are William Hill, Steve Wynn, bwin.party and Amaya Gaming. The intriguing story was picked-up recently by Steven Stadbrooke at CalvinAyre.com, who wrote:
“As unlikely as it may sound sources have told CalvinAyre.com that an agreement is in place that would see Amaya assume ownership of the Isle of Man-based online poker colossus, thereby clearing the way for the Stars brand to return to regulated US markets.”
As the argument goes, by being acquired by a company such as Amaya Gaming, which already has a license to offer internet gaming in New Jersey, PokerStars could rid itself ot its tarnished reputation in the states and thus automatically circumvent all the restrictions currently imposed upon it by authorities. PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, for instance, handed over the reigns of the company to his son Mark Scheinberg after US Department of Justice slapped him with a warrant.
Adding further credence to the acquisition rumour is the fact Mark Scheinberg now seems to be bolstering the executive management team around him as he seeks to reduce his role at PokerStars and possibly appoint a new successor. Under these circumstances, it becomes more likely the Scheinberg family might be prepared to part with a portion of their business as they seeks exposure to the US market.
Although as of yet no one has stepped forward to confirm the rumours, mere mention of a potential deal with Amaya was enough to send the company’s share price soaring by 14% before stocks later eventually retreated to a 3% rise. The wildly fluctuating stock price, however, was enough to compel Amaya to release an official statement on the situation, stating:
“In response to trading activity that may stem from market rumors that have come to the company’s attention regarding a potential strategic acquisition. Strategic acquisitions have been and are one component of the company’s growth strategy and, as such, Amaya regularly evaluates potential acquisition opportunities. From time to time, this process leads to discussions with potential acquisition targets. There can be no assurance that any such discussions will ultimately lead to a transaction. As a general policy, Amaya does not publicly comment on potential acquisitions unless and until a binding legal agreement has been signed.”