Amaya to move to Toronto, change name to Stars Group
MONTREAL — The owner of PokerStars and other online gaming businesses is changing its corporate name and relocating to Toronto as it continues to evolve after facing tough times last year.
Montreal-based Amaya says it will become The Stars Group Inc. after shareholders give their approval next month and move its head office after it hires a replacement for its chief financial officer, who has announced his retirement.
Chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi said the company is making the changes as it continues to grow and alter its gaming mix.
“As we undergo this transformation, we look to embrace the future of our business while also recognizing the incredible consumer goodwill and loyalty associated with our primary brand,” he said Friday during a conference call.
Ashkenazi, who replaced founding CEO David Baazov last year, has been beefing up Amaya’s management team, paying down debt and reducing its exposure to professional online-poker players.
Poker made up 69 per cent to Amaya revenues in this year’s first quarter, compared to 75 per cent a year earlier. Online casino games and sports betting grew to 27 per cent from 21 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.
Ashkenazi just hired a William Hill executive to drive mergers and acquisitions and is in the final stages of hiring a successor to chief financial officer Daniel Sebag. His replacement will work in Toronto.
Amaya, founded in 2004, became the world’s largest publicly listed online poker brand a decade later after purchasing the PokerStars parent for US$4.9 billion.