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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Amaya shareholders give OK to deal for online poker company the Oldford Group

MONTREAL - Amaya Gaming Group's shareholders have approved a financing that's key to its proposed acquisition of the world's largest online poker company, operator of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

The company (TSX:AYA) said Wednesday it has now obtained all the required shareholder approvals after receiving regulatory support needed to close the deal.

Shareholders approved the creation of a new class of convertible preferred shares and warrants as part of the financing. They also approved changing the company's name to Amaya Inc.

Montreal-based Amaya has agreed to pay US$4.9 billion for the Oldford Group, parent company of the Rational Group, whose poker brands have more than 85 million registered players.

CEO David Baazov said after the meeting that he was pleased with the "phenomenal and overwhelming support" from shareholders, but acknowledged the hard work that lies ahead.

"As hard as you feel you've worked historically in M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and until you get the transaction done, the hard part always comes after it's done," he said in a brief interview.

Analyst Ralph Garcea of Global Maxfin Capital raised his target price for Amaya to $35 from $30 on anticipation of strong results ahead.

"We believe the street is underestimating the positive impact of the recent deals as well as the growth opportunities in U.S. online gaming," he wrote in a report.

After hitting an all-time high on Tuesday, Amaya's shares closed down 12 cents at $29.49 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The Rational Group, based on the Isle of Man off the coast of Britain, is also a producer of live poker events and poker programming for television and online audiences. It employs more than 1,700 people and has online poker licenses in Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Isle of Man, Italy, Malta and Spain.

Amaya provides gambling products and services for casinos and gambling companies in North America, Latin America and Europe.

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