Rational Group is now part of Amaya. The deal became official late last week when Amaya announced that the acquisition of Rational companies PokerStars and Full Tilt had been completed.
The $4.9 billion business move was the most talked-about in recent gaming history, and it signifies a new chapter for Rational Group companies. Not only do the Amaya-owned entities have a real chance at reentering the United States market now, but they will do so for the first time without the leadership of Mark and Isai Scheinberg. Their departures from Rational Group were part of the agreement.
Shareholders Approval Came Quickly
The general meeting of the shareholders of Amaya came together on July 30 to vote on the resolutions pertaining to the acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt, together comprising Rational Group and under the parent company of Olford Group Limited. The meeting was held at Amaya’s headquarters in Quebec, Canada.
The final vote was unanimous in favor of the acquisition. The approval was not completely unexpected, as the previous days saw the Toronto Stock Exchange and the world’s online gaming regulators give their stamps of approval to the deal as well. The vote officially created a new class of convertible preferred shares and warrants that will be a part of the funding of the buyout with the help of GSO Capital Partners.
Deal Finalized and Celebrated
Upon the completion of the deal, Amaya CEO David Baazov announced it and noted that the future was bright for the new conglomerate. “Rational’s success is attributable to the company’s core values of integrity, customer focus, and challenge. These values are ingrained in the DNA of the company’s staff located across the globe, led by Rational’s deep, experienced executive and leadership teams.”
Baazov had previously stated that the daily operations of companies like PokerStars and Full Tilt would remain unchanged for the most part. However, the goal of becoming part of the new United States regulated online gaming market would be more of a focus.
As Mark Scheinberg exited, the poker site founder said, “Since launching PokerStars in 2001, we have grown the business each year thanks to constant innovation, unparalleled customer service, and the talent of our dedicated workforce. While myself and other founders are departing, we are happy to see the business and the brands we have developed, along with the teams behind them, transferred to strong new ownership. I’m confident that Amaya, together with Rational Group’s leadership, will continue to successfully grow the business into the future.”
Said departure of the Scheinbergs and the new ownership of the companies will likely spur the company’s entrance to the US market via New Jersey. That state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement previously stated that the license application of PokerStars was being reevaluated in the face of its acquisition by Amaya, and the approval of that license is said to be in the works. Analysts expect that PokerStars and Full Tilt may be able to establish an online gaming presence in New Jersey this month.
Big Money, Big Prospects
The completion of the Amaya deal revealed the financing of the acquisition in detail. GSO Capital Partners helped put the deal together with accounts totaling $600 million and $1.05 billion of convertible preferred shares. There were also $640 million of subscription receipts at $20 each that were converted to common shares when the deal was official.
Those details, along with cash on hand in the amount of $213 million, the new debt, a new purchase of $55 million in common shares, and Senior Secured Credit Facilities in the amount of $2.92 billion, make the deal possible.
Baazov added that the prospects for Amaya are now bigger than ever: “Through PokerStars, Full Tilt and its multiple live poker tours and events, Rational’s brands comprise the world’s largest poker business, generating diversified and recurring revenues across the globe from its extremely loyal customer base.”