PokerStars to be bought in $4.9bn deal



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A Canadian company is to buy the firm that owns Isle of Man-based Poker Stars in a deal worth US$4.9billion.

An announcement was made this morning that Montreal-based Amaya Gaming Group was to buy Oldford Group Ltd, the parent company of Rational Group Ltd, the world’s largest poker business and owner and operator of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands.

Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications at Rational Group, said: ‘PokerStars is committed to the Isle of Man and this acquisition does not change that.

‘There will be no impact to our staff here and PokerStars’ global headquarters will remain in the Isle of Man for the foreseeable future.

‘We expect the acquisition will accelerate our growth, with new products and expansion into new territories, particularly in the U.S. These initiatives are designed to take us to even greater heights, which will likely lead to growth and job opportunities in the Isle of Man.

‘We also remain committed to the wider Isle of Man community and our core values. We will continue to give to local charities, support local sporting talent and be a responsible corporate citizen in engaging in community issues.’

PokerStars opened its headquarters in Onchan in 2006. It now employees 216 people in Isle of Man, which is an 11 per cent increase over June 2013.

It says it intends to grow staff by another 10 per cent by year-end.

The booming gaming industry is the principal reason why the Isle of Man never officially went into recession after the global downturn from 2008.

The growth in e-gaming more than offset the decline in other sectors, such as retailing and construction.

The sector accounts for around 14 per cent of Manx National Income and 1,500 jobs.

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