BUSINESS

David Baazov abandons latest bid to acquire Amaya Gaming

TAGs: Amaya Gaming, David Baazov

amaya-baazov-abandons-takeover-bidFormer Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov has donned his Grinch hat after abandoning his latest attempt to acquire the company and take it private.

On Tuesday, Baazov released a statement saying he’d decided to “terminate my attempted acquisition of Amaya” based on “certain shareholders” demanding a share price premium that “exceeded the price at which my investors and I would be willing to complete a transaction.”

Baazov had been offering $24 per share to acquire Amaya, an improvement over the $21 he’d offered in his original bid in February. But activist investor Jason Ader, whose SpringOwl Asset Management held a 2% stake in Amaya, urged Amaya’s board to reject Baazov’s “self-interested, unsubstantiated potential transaction” and to cut all ties with their “discredited former executive.”

Baazov said the decision to walk away – for the second time this year – was “not a decision I took lightly,” but consultations with his advisors determined that it was “the best course of action.” Amaya released a brief statement confirming the termination of its discussions with Baazov.

Baazov maintained that his latest bid for Amaya was an “unconditional, fully financed offer” and that he’d “retained a full suite of advisors, arranged committed financing, and engaged in constructive negotiations with Amaya’s board of directors.”

Yet Baazov’s latest bid was viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism after one of his original four investment backers denied involvement in or knowledge of any Amaya bid. Another of the original backers vanished under similarly murky circumstances, and while the remaining two firms pledged to make up the difference, their previous investment history offered no assurance that they’d be able to honor that pledge.

Baazov’s second rebuff comes just one week after the latest hearing into the criminal charges stemming from Baazov’s alleged insider trading shenanigans. On December 13, Baazov’s attorney challenged Quebec’s securities regulator to provide more concrete evidence that Baazov used an unidentified “front” to carry out illegal trades, including some involving Amaya’s 2014 acquisition of the parent company of PokerStars.

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