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[June 19, 2014]
The $4.9 Billion Deal That Changed Online Gaming
(ACCESSWIRE (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Category: Baystreet Newswire Company: Venture Cap News ID: 417026 Date: Thursday, June 19, 2014 Ticker: TSX:AYA Amaya Gaming Buys PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker VANCOUVER, BC/ ACCESSWIRE / June 19, 2014 / On Friday June 13, Amaya Gaming (AYA-TSX) announced that it will pay $4.9 billion in cash to buy the Oldford Group the parent company of Rational, the world’s largest online poker company, operator of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker – who have a combined 85 million registered players.
"We believe the combined company will be a global online gaming powerhouse in a large and growing global online gaming market," stated Amaya founder, chairman and CEO David Baazov.
The online gaming market is projected to grow from $29 billion to $42 billion in the next four years.
Isis Lab (LAB-TSX.V) has created a gamblification engine that turns on-line games into real money, while creating a sticky user social experience. For clients operating within fully regulated markets the company offers a turnkey solution including a full commerce application and back office suite.
Isis Labs’ DNA is embedded in the $4.9 billion acquisition by Amaya.
Dmitry Dain, LAB’s Chief Technology Officer, headed up PYR Software, the same company that powers Poker Stars, while Isis Labs CMO Lothar Rentschler is the former Chief Marketing Officer of Full Tilt Poker.
Isis Labs President and CEO, Daniel Kajouie, was interviewed on BNN following the earthquake acquisition.
"The US market is the elephant in the room," stated Kajouie, "There are three states that have currently regulated online gaming. Regarding the rest, I am of the view that it’s a question of when, rather than if. And it will be a massive play for whoever’s in the market." Amaya had 2013 revenues of $145 million, while PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker had four times this revenue. EBIDTA of the combined companies is expected to grow from $474 million to $600 million this year.
The deal follows a year-long negotiation that is expected to facilitate Amaya’s entry into the US, which has been compromised because of the legal problems facing executive Isai Scheinberg.
PokerStars agreed in 2012 to pay $731 million to settle Justice Department charges, without admitting wrongdoing.
The global online gambling market is currently about $35 billion dollars," stated Kajouie, "With the US entry into the regulated arena, it will significantly increase. There are land-based operators seeking to acquire licenses and there are approximately 10 or 12 that are currently licensed in New Jersey." Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalised internet gambling, with California, New York, Texas and other states expected to follow suit.
As a seller of slot machines, Amaya already has relationships with state regulators, which is expected to ease the entry into the large U.S. market.
"Licensing and regulation issues are paramount, especially in the US.
Poker Stars, as a global company, has done a tremendous job," stated Kajouie, "Having Poker Stars under new ownership could significantly increase their chance of getting regulatory approvals." Tennis legend, Boris Becker is a Brand Ambassador for the social gaming platform ISISFriends. As well as being the current coach to Novak Djokovic, Becker was early adopter of technology and social media. "Isis Labs has combined two of my favorite passions,’ stated Becker, ‘gaming and social media. This intersection is what sets them apart." "The key component is the loyalty of the users to the brand," stated Kajouie, "There’s no doubt that PokerStars has led that field for some time. Beyond that, it really comes down to your operational processes, and lowering the cost of acquiring players." With his technical and marketing team, Kajouie intends to leverage the growth in regulated, real-money, online gaming through the application of the social graph and the gamblification of social games.
"We’ve discovered that social community combined with real-money gaming in a regulated environment, can significantly reduce the cost of player acquisition," stated Kajouie, "and prolong the lifetime value of a players." Since the deal was announced shares of Amaya have surged 30% to $19.10. The company now has a market cap of $1.8 billion.
Isis Labs is currently trading at .40 with a market cap of $22 million.
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