The online poker community got some huge news on Thursday when it was announced that Amaya Gaming Group Inc. had acquired Rational Group, the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, in a deal worth $4.9 billion.
Amaya and privately-held Oldford Group Limited (the parent company of Rational Group) struck a definitive deal that entitles Amaya to all issued and outstanding shares of Oldford Group, meaning PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have been sold to Amaya in an unprecedented acquisition within the world of online gaming. With the transaction, Amaya will become the world’s largest publicly-traded online gaming company.
The deal is expected to accelerate the re-entry of the two online poker rooms back into the U.S. market. Both have been entangled in regulatory and legal difficulties for more than three years now, which saw them banned from operating in the United States.
According to a press release issued by PokerStars on Thursday, “Amaya believes the transaction will expedite the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker into regulated markets in which Amaya already holds a footprint, particularly the U.S. Additionally, Amaya will provide an extensive selection of its online casino games to expand the Full Tilt Poker casino platform. Amaya intends to strongly support Rational Group’s growth initiatives in new gaming verticals, including casino, sportsbook, and social gaming, and new geographies.”
Poker players around the world don’t have to worry, according to the press release, “Rational Group’s executive management team will be retained and online poker services provided by PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be unaffected by the Transaction, with players continuing to enjoy uninterrupted access to their gaming experience.”
The following day, while speaking to the 13 Amaya Gaming investors on a conference call, Amaya CEO David Baazov noted the acquisition represents a “strong deal from a financial perspective” that will “transform the entire global gaming industry.”
The purchase of the privately-held OGL will lead to the creation of a “global online gaming powerhouse in a large and growing online gaming market, which H2Gambling Capital estimates to grow up to approximately 42 billion dollars by 2018,” Baazov said.
“Rational is the owner of the operators PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the two most profitable and powerful online gaming brands,” Baazov continued. “Over the past fourteen years, [Rational] has become the world’s largest poker business, earning the loyalty of millions of players.”
“With the continuing trend of online gaming regulation around the world, the company has in front of itself an enormous opportunity to leverage its brand recognition and customer loyalty to diversify into other gaming verticals as casino, sports betting and social gaming.”
Baazov also noted he expects the operation to be completed by September 30.
The possible entry of one of the world’s most popular poker rooms to the U.S. market is an exciting prospect for players, likely to shake-up the already competitive market. If you want to play some online poker right now though, why not head over to Carbon Poker – the market leading poker room for players in the United States.