Rafi Ashkenazi – Amaya has M&A appetite for sports betting in 2017

Speaking to Bloomberg News, Rafi Ashkenazi Chief Executive of Amaya Inc has stated that his firm’s ‘appetite for risk’ will return once its internal operations are settled.

Ashkenazi who took over the reins of Amaya last August following the controversial departure of former leader David Baazov, has so far focused his short tenure on reducing Amaya’s long-term debt and installing new executive team members.

TSX analysts have praised Ashkenazi’s pragmatic style of management, which has regained investor confidence with the firm’s stock up 30% since the new leadership appointment.

An industry veteran, who has served as Chief Operations Officer at Rational Group and Playtech Plc, Ashkenazi reaffirmed to Bloomberg Amaya’s continued versification strategy which sees the company reducing its reliance on its online poker vertical.

To date, Ashkenazi is satisfied with Amaya strong crossover with its online casino vertical, which “Amaya has done well to persuade their poker players to try their casino product,”

However, Amaya’s leader notes that sports betting is tougher proposition for the firm’s operations as it “faces a competitive market where the majors have established significant volume and price efficiency.”

As Amaya governance continues to reduce its debt levels, Ashkenazi states that his firm will move towards a gradual M&A focus in 2017 with the firm recruiting a Group Strategy Director seeking opportunities within sports betting.

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