Baazov wants to retain Rational’s core values

David Baazov

Amaya CEO David Baazov wants the Rational Group, parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, to continue to focus on its ‘core values’ of ‘integrity, customer focus, and challenge’. Amaya has just invested US$4.9bn completing the acquisition of Isle of Man-headquartered Rational Group Ltd.

Baazov commented: “We are extremely pleased to have completed this acquisition. 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.

“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. We intend for Rational to maintain this culture and will support its initiatives to continue growing this world class business.”

The firm will have to maintain this philosophy without Rational Group founder and CEO Mark Scheinberg. He 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.”

Considering the size of the transaction, it has been carried out at some speed. This is doubly true with one glance at the length of the cast list behind the deal.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Canaccord Genuity Corp. acted as lead financial advisors to Amaya in connection with the acquisition. Macquarie Capital and Barclays acted as co-advisors. Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor to Oldford Group (Rational’s parent). Amaya was represented by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in connection with corporate and securities matters, including the offering of convertible preferred shares, subscription receipts and common shares. Greenberg Traurig, LLP acted as lead counsel to Amaya in connection with the Acquisition, the senior secured credit facilities and U.K., The Netherlands and U.S. matters, with Fox Rothschild, LLP being retained as special gaming counsel by the Corporation. Cains served as Isle of Man counsel to Amaya in connection with the Acquisition. McCarthy Tétrault LLP acted as legal advisor to the underwriters with respect to the Subscription Receipt offering and Canadian legal advisor to GSO, with White & Case LLP acting as U.S. and U.K. legal advisor to GSO. The syndicate of lenders under the term loan facilities was represented by Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. Stikeman Elliott LLP acted as lead advisor to Canaccord Genuity with respect to the previously announced Convertible Preferred Share offering.

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