Playtech investors block £2.7bn Aristocrat takeover bid
The contest to snap up Playtech has taken a fresh turn with shareholders voting to block a takeover bid by Aristocrat.
In a meeting held today gambling technology company Playtech failed to achieve the 75 per cent threshold of shareholder support necessary to push ahead with the sale. In total just 56 per cent of investors voting in favour of the £2.7bn bid made by the Australian gambling company.
Commenting on the collapse of the Aristocrat takeover Mor Weizer, chief executive of Playtech said the company remains “in a strong position” with multiple offers signalling “the quality of our technology and products.”
Aristocrat first made its audacious, multi billion dollar offer in Ocotber, driving up the company’s share price to new heights of 680p and kicking off a bidding war.
Playtech courted offers from bidders including Gopher Investments and JKO play, a coalition of shareholders led by former F1 boss, Eddie Jordan which was prepared to make an offer in excess of £3bn. Ultimately, Aristocrat won out as the company’s preferred choice.
Trevor Croker, the chief executive of snubbed suitor Aristocrat, said the company is “disappointed” its offer was rebuffed. Croker said developments had been “highly unusual and largely beyond Aristocrat’s control,” blaming the emergence of “a certain group of shareholders who built a blocking stake” for the collapse of the sale.
The comments follow reports that the deal is being blocked by a group of Hong-Kong based investors who bought a 27 per cent stake in the company after Aristocrat’s initial offer jacked up the company’s share price. The group reportedly includes Stanley Choi, the Chinese businessman whose acquisition of Wigan Athletic football club in 2020 ultimately ended in the club falling into administration, and Paul Suen, who floated Birmingham City on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
In the wake of the meeting, Playtech’s share price is today up by 0.74 per cent.
Read more: Playtech mulls breaking up to sell off parts if Aristocrat takeover fails