Playtech raises a £100m war chest for deals

GAMING software maker Playtech added to its takeover firepower yesterday by raising £100m from its major investors in a share placement.

Playtech’s founder and biggest shareholder Teddy Sagi, an Israeli entrepreneur who made about £165m from the company’s flotation in 2006, could see his stake rise to just under 50 per cent if other investors do not take up offer.

His Brickington investment vehicle has underwritten the entire placing and bought 40 per cent of it, with the option to acquire any shares not taken up by shareholders up to a maximum of 49.9 per cent.

Playtech said it wanted to use the new capital to make bolt-on acquisitions of up to £40m in size, and enter new joint ventures.

“The directors expect such acquisitions to be earnings enhancing and are also confident such deals would accelerate organic development and assist the group to retain its leading position,” it said in a statement.

It said it was still targeting a move to a premium listing after being turned down by the UKLA in March.

Playtech also said it was altering its dividend policy to pay out 40 per cent of its profits, with the first payout likely to come in March.



LEADING Playtech’s advisory team is Piers Coombs, managing director at Collins Stewart and number two in its corporate broking team, advising both corporate broking and M&A clients.

Coombs joined the brokerage in July 2007 from Morgan Stanley, where he had been executive director for just over a year. A former Cazenove banker of six years, he remained with the institution to work in its joint venture with then-rival JP Morgan, before moving to Morgan Stanley in 2005. Prior to joining Cazenove, he was associate director and vice president at CSFB de Zoete & Bevan.

Coombs has a long track record on both M&A deals and equity issues. He worked on International Power’s $2bn (£1.3bn) joint venture takeover of Edison Mission Energy’s international power generation assets in 2004; and the $5.8bn takeover of concrete group RMC by Cemex UK in 2009.

Working with Playtech, Coombs has advised it on its takeovers of PT Turnkey Services for €140m in March this year, and of Mobenga for €23.8m in July.