Playtech pushes back shareholder vote on Aristocrat’s takeover

abdelaziz Fathi

Playtech, the London-listed gambling software developer, said its shareholders will convene on February 2, instead of January 12, to vote on a takeover bid from Australian gambling giant Aristocrat.

Swapping the vote date would give a consortium called JKO Play, led by former Formula 1 boss Eddie Jordan and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin, the chance to say whether it had a “firm intention to make an offer for Playtech.”

Per a regulatory filing, the poker machine maker has set January 26 as the deadline for JKO Play to state its intention.

“Discussions with JKO are progressing. As such, JKO has asked that it be provided with more time to develop the terms of its potential offer for the Company. Given the circumstances, the Board consider it to be in Playtech shareholders’ interests to adjourn the Court Meeting and General Meeting required to implement the Aristocrat Offer, which are due to be held on 12 January 2022, and to set a revised deadline,” the statement further reads.

JKO Play was the third suitor within a month to express an interest in buying Playtech, which confirmed that the new bidder had requested access to due diligence information before a possible bid.

But after Gopher Investments walked away and shelved its $4.0 billion buyout of Playtech, JKO consortium is now up against Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure which was the first to unveil bid for the gambling technology business. The $30 billion ASX-listed company said it would fund the deal with a combination of existing cash and new debt alongside equity raising of nearly $960 million.

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Playtech still recommends Aristocrat’s offer

Despite the emergence of a serious suitor, Aristocrat says its $3.9 billion bid remains the only firm offer on the table for Playtech.

Australian slot machine supplier said in a statement: “Aristocrat further notes that any other potential bidders have already had a substantial amount of time to make an alternative proposal for Playtech.”

Playtech also confirmed it will push forward with Aristocrat’s planned acquisition despite the UK online platform provider receiving a rival takeover offer from JKO Play.

“Despite any adjournment of the Court Meeting and General Meeting, there remains no certainty that JKO’s approach will result in an offer for the Company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made. The Playtech Directors continue to recommend unanimously that Playtech Shareholders vote in favour of the Aristocrat Offer at the Court Meeting and in favour of the Playtech Resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting,” it added in a statement to the stock market.

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