Embattled Gambling Firm Amaya Holds AGM in Private
MONTREAL – Top executives of Amaya met with shareholders behind closed doors Tuesday during their annual general meeting.
It is the first meeting since former chairman and CEO David Baazov, who is heading a possible takeover bid for the online gambling company, was charged with insider trading by Quebec regulators.
In an unexpected move, Amaya’s board of directors decided to exclude the media and non-shareholders from the meeting.
Amaya spokesman Eric Hollreiser said the company has nothing to hide.
“We’re treating it the way we feel is appropriate for shareholders this year,” Hollreiser said outside the meeting.
Baazov took an indefinite paid leave of absence in March and did not seek re-election to the Montreal-based company’s board of directors.
He has pleaded not guilty, along with two other people and three companies, following an investigation by the province’s market regulator, the Autorite des marches financiers, into alleged insider trading. Their case is scheduled to be heard in a Quebec court on Sept. 7.
Baazov faces five charges, including influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya shares and with communicating privileged information.
The AMF also alleges that 13 people, including Baazov’s brother, used their access to information to reap nearly $1.5 million in illicit profits from stock trades.
David Baazov, 35, is the largest Amaya shareholder with more than 24.5 million shares or nearly 17 per cent of all stock in circulation.
His compensation surged 71 per cent last year to about $1.04 million after Amaya (TSX:AYA) completed its US$4.9 billion acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt, a deal that made it the world’s largest online poker company.
Amaya said several potential buyers, including a group headed by Baazov, have entered into confidentiality agreements with Amaya and are conducting due diligence for a possible takeover.
Several new people were nominated to join Amaya’s board with the departure of Baazov and chief financial officer Daniel Sebag.