June 12 Canada's Amaya Gaming Group, is
near a deal to buy the parent of PokerStars, the world's largest
poker website, Bloomberg said, citing two people with knowledge
of the situation.
Blackstone Group LP's credit business, GSO Capital Partners
LP, is backing the bid and arranging more than $1 billion to
help finance the deal, according to one of the people, Bloomberg
An announcement to buy PokerStars' parent Rational Group Ltd
may come on Thursday, one of the people told Bloomberg.
Blackstone is preparing to announce its largest-ever credit
deal, with more than $1 billion of fund commitments, Bennett
Goodman, head of Blackstone's credit business, said at the
company's investor day, according to Bloomberg.
The agreement, which Blackstone expects will be announced on
Thursday, is an acquisition financing for a North American
company, Goodman said without naming the business involved,
Amaya Gaming' shares rose 17 percent to $14.08 on Thursday,
before trading in the stock was halted on the Toronto Stock
Exchange. The stock has risen about 39 percent in the last week.
New ownership could remove an obstacle for PokerStars to
return to the United States, where online gambling is now legal
in three states, Bloomberg reported.
The Isle of Man-based company paid $731 million in July 2012
to settle a money laundering lawsuit filed a year earlier by the
U.S. Department of Justice.
Amaya Gaming and PokerStars were not immediately available
(Reporting By Tanvi Mehta and Narottam Medhora in Bangalore;
Editing by Savio D'Souza)