David Baazov continues to make headlines through his company Amaya Inc. as investors and online gamblers alike continue to follow the news closely in order to determine what type of shake up the former CEO is able to produce nowadays. This time around it does not appear to be anything illegal such as that which was brought on by the accusations of insider trading which caused his resignation late last year. Instead, he is making what should be a simple stock move by selling $100M worth of Amaya holdings, but that only liquidates about 5% of the company’s total market cap which is listed at about $2.11B currently.
The sell does not do much to push him out of the top spot as he released a statement saying that he still owns over 17 million shares equivalent to about 12% of the company which is still seeing improvement after the widely heralded purchase of PokerStars in 2014. David is still fighting quite the fight within the courtrooms in order to refute the Canadian government which would have the public believe that Baazov used “fronts” in order to keep his trades disguised well and under the table. His attorney Sophie Melchers wants details, and she wants the now. Her demand to the court and the AMF (Autorite des Marches Financiers) is that specific names are mentioned in order that she can develop a proper defense.
The PokerStars deal which put the poker giant into the portfolio of Amaya was so large that it brought on an automatic review and led to accusations that Baazov had possession of privileged information, influenced the market price of a stock (in this case, Amaya Gaming) and communicated the same privileged information against laws. It remains to be seen how all of those criminal charges will play out later this year. In the meantime, Amaya is still looking to restructure its debt in order to conserve about $15 million dollars per year. The combination of David Baazov selling off and the restructuring announcement have brought increases in the company’s overall stock price such that it is rebounding from its sharp decline after the negative announcement was released.
All of this news has kept Amaya as a buy according to many stock market pundits. The price was inherently low enough that it seems likely that there will only be one way to go and that is up. Baazov released statements in order to insure shareholders that there is nothing to be concerned about, but that instead he is simply exercising his option to make trades from time to time. In the words of a close advisor: “Mr. Baazov continues to own common shares for investment purposes and may, from time to time, dispose of some or all of the existing securities he owns.”
This year should be an interesting one for companies that he is associated with, and by the end there should be enough information for investors to know whether the company will be a royal flush or a bad beat.