The prolonged battle to acquire Playtech will continue into mid-summer after one of its most prominent investors was given another month to make an offer.
Investment firm TTB Partners was previously given until 5pm today to make a ‘put or shut up’ offer for the gambling software developer, but now has until 15 July to ‘clarify its intentions.’
Talks regarding a takeover by the Hong Kong-based group were first confirmed back in early February, just after a failed £2.1billion bid for Playtech by Aristocrat Leisure, an Australian slot machine manufacturer.
Further Extension: TTB Partners was previously given until 5pm today to make a ‘put or shut up’ offer for Playtech, but now has until 15 July to ‘clarify its intentions’
A majority of Playtech shareholders voted in favour of that 680p-per-share proposal, but still far below the 75 per cent threshold required for it to be accepted.
Prior to that point, a consortium led by businessman and ex-Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan had been in discussions regarding a £3billion offer, while Gopher Investment was likewise considering a rival bid.
TTB Partners was an adviser on the latter deal, also worth around £3billion, before it collapsed in late November and the company decided to make its own move.
Last month, analysts at Peel Hunt described the extended talks between the two parties as progressing at the pace of a ‘council of snails’, which they suggested may be the result of ‘volatile markets.’
However, they said the latest deadline extension was an ‘encouraging sign’ and has held its buy recommendation and 800p target price for investors.
In a statement released this morning, Playtech said: ‘This is not an announcement of a firm intention to make an offer, and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made.’
The company’s note to shareholders comes just two days after it revealed that regulators had approved the $250million sale of its financial trading division Finalto to Gopher Investments.
Founded in Estonia back in 1999 and headquartered in the Isle of Man, Playtech designs software for online gaming applications such as internet poker and bingo, sports betting and fixed-odds arcade games.
Clients have included some of the UK’s biggest bookmakers, ranging from Betfair to William Hill and Ladbrokes, Poland’s national lottery operator and Dutch hospitality group Holland Casino.
It has operations across 30 jurisdictions, including Italy, Poland and the United States, where it signed a deal with Warner Bros five years ago to make slot games based on DC Comics movies, such as the Dark Knight Trilogy and Suicide Squad.
Playtech has also been taking advantage of the liberalisation of sports betting laws across multiple US states to forge new partnerships with gambling businesses capitalising on these legal changes.
And in Britain, one of its subsidiaries, internet and mobile software provider Virtue Fusion, operates News UK’s Sun Bingo and Fabulous Bingo websites.
closed trading 0.6 per cent lower at 461.2p on Friday, although their value has plunged by 29 per cent in the past six months.
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