Oldford Group, the parent company of Rational Group Ltd., owners of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, issued an announcement yesterday (June 12th) that they have entered into a definitive agreement with Amaya Gamimg Group for the corporation to acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Oldford Group.
The purchase price of this transaction is an astonishing $4.9 billion. With this transaction, Amaya will become the world’s largest publicly-traded online gaming company. After the completion of the deal, Oldford Group shareholders led by Mark Scheinberg will dispose of their shares and resign from their positions in the company.
The deal will in no manner affect online poker service and players will be able to continue enjoying uninterrupted access to their gaming experience. The press release states that Amaya plans on continuing working with the experienced executive team at Rational Group and delivering the best game experiences, customer service and online security.
An important detail about the transaction is that it will likely expedite the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker into regulated markets, especially the USA. Founder and CEO of Rational Group Mark Scheinberg stated:
I am incredibly proud of the business Isai and I have built over the last 14 years, creating the world’s biggest poker company and a leader in the iGaming space. Our achievements and this transaction are an affirmation of the hard work, expertise and dedication of our staff, which I am confident will continue to drive the company’s success. The values and integrity which have shaped this company are deeply ingrained in its DNA. David Baazov has a strong vision for the future of the Rational Group which will lead the company to new heights.”
PokerStars launched in 2001 and has since become the leading online poker site. It set a Guinness World Record in June of 2013 when 225,000 players entered a single online tournament. Rational Group holds a majority of the global market share in real money online poker and it owns online poker licenses in 10 different jurisdictions. With all that, it is also the world’s largest producer of live poker events and poker programs for TV and online audiences.
What this acquisition means for the players in the states is that PokerStars and Full Tilt will be one step closer to reentering the regulated market. With Scheinberg not involved with the company any more, it will certainly make it easier to apply for licenses in certain states like New Jersey. There are still many obstacles in the way in terms of regulation, but it is a step in the right direction toward making a big comeback for sure.