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22 Dec
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David Baazov backs out from Amaya takeover bid

Former Amaya boss David Baazov has backed out in his bid to acquire the PokerStars owner after a disagreement with regards to the valuation.

Baazov, founder of Amaya, was willing to buy the company in mid-November in for approximately $4.1 billion (€4 billion).

If the transaction costs were taken into account then the bid was worth $6.7 billion.

This move was opposed by Amaya shareholder SpringOwl Asset Management, citing lack of transparency.

The negotiations received another jolt when KBC Aldini, a Dubai-based investor, backing for the deal announced was given without the approval of the firm.

“It became evident that the share price premium demanded by certain shareholders exceeded the price at which my investors and I would be willing to complete a transaction,” Baazov said in a statement.

“Amaya confirmed today that discussions with its former chief executive officer, David Baazov, regarding the offer to acquire Amaya by an entity to be formed, have terminated,”read the statement from Amaya.

Baazov was forced to step down from his position as chief executive earlier this year after he was charged with multiple counts of illegal insider trading by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), Quebec’s securities regulator. These charges were leveled against Baazov with regards to Amaya's $4.9 billion acquisition of Rational Group.

However, none of these charged have been proven in court.

04 Dec
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Denmark struck by lowest-ever online poker quarterly result

In some bad news for Denmark’s poker industry, country’s gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden has announced that its online poker market has registered its poorest quarterly performance during the three months leading up to September 30.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by online pokers in the third quarter of 2016 was only DDK35 million (€4.7 million/$5 million), least since the game was legalized in the country.

While the online casino GGR was better (DDK335 million), that number too was lower in comparison to the previous two quarters. Interestingly, online casino GGR takes care of 64.5% of Denmark’s overall betting market.

However, gaming machines remain a consistent source of income for the country’s online casino market. It has a 70% market share, far ahead of poker, blackjack and roulette.

If the third quarter result is anything to by, Spillemyndigheden puts GGR for the full-year to be at somewhere around DDK8.85 billion, compared to DDK8.36 billion at the end of 2015.

There are tricky times for all the stakeholders in the Danish online gambling market. It now remains to be seen how the ecosystem responds to these numbers and patters. Is this trend here to stay or will business pick up in the final quarter of the year, is something one has to wait and watch.

03 Dec
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Playtech’s largest shareholder offloads 12% stock in company

In an interesting new development in the world of iGaming, the Playtech’s largest shareholder - Brickington Trading Limited - has sold 12% of its stake in the company.

Teddy Sagi, who also happens to be the co-founder of the iGaming giant, shipped off 38.7 million ordinary shares at a price of 850 pence (999 €cents/1060 $cents) each.

After offloading 12% of its stake, Brickington will hold a further 21.6% in Playtech. However, Brickington will not sell any shares for the next 180 days.

The placing was conducted through an accelerated book built via UBS Limited, Canaccord Genuity Limited and Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited.

On the other hand, Playtech successfully completed acquisition of 70% stake in technology firm Consolidated Financial Holdings.

Playtech has also stated that it will complete the complete takeover (remaining 30%) pursuant to put and call option arrangements.

03 Dec
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Despite initial hiccups, David Baazov sets eyes on acquiring Amaya

Former chief executive of Amaya David Baazov still has plans to own the company he was forced to exit due to an investigation of corruption. Interestingly, a supporter investor denied any involvement in this move by Baazov.

Kalani Lal, chief executive of KBC Aldini Capital, told the media that his company was not part of the process despite its name appearing in several reports.

KBC and three other investors were named by Baazov in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the firms that would bid to takeover Amaya Gamin, which is valued at approximately C$3.65 billion (€2.56 billion/U$2.70 billion).

“I don't know who Amaya is; we have not given any commitment, nor have we had any discussions or any type of verbal communication,”Lal said.

Baazov already has a 17% stake in Amaya. However, the company’s shares fell after Lal’s comments appeared in the media. Since then, Baazov has stated that he intends to look to alternate investors.

“Baazov intends to obtain replacement financing and still currently intends to acquire Amaya on the terms previously disclosed by him on November 14, 2016,” read a report in Reuters.

Amaya has stated that the bid from Baazov would be carefully studied before any further action was taken. These are definitely interesting times for the biggest gaming company in the world.

It remains to be seen how Baazov plays this going forward and whether this big bet pays any dividends.

03 Dec
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2016 Battle of Malta sets new record with 1,813 entries

In a record-breaking feat, the 2016 edition of Battle of Malta drew whopping 1,813 entries.

The event, held on the isle of Matla, is the biggest ever poker tournament to be conducted there.

The previous four editions too witnessed big crowds but the excitement levels have gone up a notch this term.

Interestingly, the tournament carries a modest buy-in of €550 and boasts of a prize pool of €870,000. These figures were dealt a boost thanks to the biggest-ever starting day in the Battle of Malta’s history.

The 883 entries on Day 1c made it the highest ever Day 1 total, almost three times the number recorded during the first edition of the event in 2012.

Fernando Pons, Leo Margets, Konstantin Puchkov, Luca Moschitta, Steven van Zadelhoff and Sofia Lovgren were some of the notable who played Day 1c.

The 2016 Battle of Malta beat the record of 2015 edition by 9 entries.

20 Nov
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Robert Berglund emerges victorious at the 2016 Battle of Malta

 

Just like Robert, the event was dominated by his fellow Scandinavian players with Sweden’s Jonas Hähnert finishing in 9th for €14,540 ($15,997), and Norway’s Robert Eik in 7th for €29,000 ($31,906). Interestingly, Robert’s friend Rasmus Eriksson too took home €67,000 ($73,713) after finishing third.

Nine players made it to the final table. After a series of elimination, Berglund and Ireland’s John Linkins were left to fight it out for the title. The heads-up battle didn’t last long as Robert outclassed his final opponent.

Linkins had to settle for a second place finish for  €110,000 ($121,021), while Berglund was crowned champion for the 2016 edition of the record-breaking Battle of Malta.

Final Table Payouts:

1: Robert Berglund €160,000

2: John Linkins €110,000

3: Rasmus Eriksson €67,000

4: Gonzalo Fernandez €56,000

5: Lawrence Brandt €46,500

6: Flaviano Cammisuli €37,500

7: Robert Sverre Eik €29,000

8: Giorgio Ligasacchi €21,400

9: Jonas Hähnert €14,540

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