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Amaya gains approval for trading on Nasdaq

The Amaya Inc. headquarters are pictured on June 13, 2014, in a suburb of Montreal

Ryan Remior/The Canadian Pres

Amaya Inc., the company whose $4.9-billion (U.S.) acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker is at the centre of an insider-trading probe in Quebec, has won approval for its stock to be traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Montreal-based Amaya said on Wednesday it expects its common shares to begin trading on Nasdaq's Global Select Market on June 8 under the AYA ticker symbol.

Amaya's shares already trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, also under AYA.

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"Our listing on Nasdaq is an important milestone for Amaya and a testament to the tremendous progress we have made over our five years as a public company," Amaya chairman and chief executive officer David Baazov said.

"We anticipate that the Nasdaq listing will provide greater visibility and better liquidity for our stock and help broaden our shareholder base."

Nasdaq's Global Select Market is its "top-tier trading platform" and only companies with the "highest of quantitative and qualitative listing standards, related to, among other things, financial condition, liquidity and corporate governance practices" are accepted, Amaya said.

Quebec's financial securities watchdog, the Autorité des marchés financiers, is investigating events surrounding a sharp run-up in Amaya's stock price in the month before Amaya's blockbuster acquisition of the operator of PokerStars.

Amaya's share price nearly doubled in heavy trading ahead of the announcement and doubled again to more than $30 (Canadian) per share after the news broke.

The AMF has executed search warrants on three companies: Amaya, lead financial adviser Canaccord Genuity Corp. and the Dorval, Que. branch of Manulife Securities Inc.

According to people familiar with the probe, the regulator seized documents and records of communications in December from Mr. Baazov and chief financial officer Daniel Sebag.

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Amaya has stated it thoroughly reviewed the internal activities related to the PokerStars deal and "found no evidence of any violation of Canadian securities laws or regulations including tipping and insider trading by CEO David Baazov and CFO Daniel Sebag as well as its directors, officers and employees."

With files from Jacquie McNish and Nicolas Van Praet

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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