UK-based platform provider Playtech plc has postponed a shareholder vote on a US$2.9 billion takeover bid by Australian slot machine giant Aristocrat as it waits on confirmation of a rival bid.
Aristocrat announced its bid for Playtech in October, with the company’s cash price offer of 680 pence per share representing a 58% premium over the Playtech price at the time of 429 pence per share.
However, it also brought a handful of other suitors out of the woodwork, most notably JKO Play Ltd – a consortium led by former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan and former Scientific Games executive Keith O’Loughlin. JKO said in November that its bid was dependent upon acquiring funding from a private equity fund in New York.
While full details of that bid have not yet been forthcoming, Playtech revealed on Wednesday that “discussions with JKO are progressing” and that “JKO has asked that it be provided with more time to develop the terms of its potential offer for the company.”
A shareholder meeting to vote on Aristocrat’s bid has subsequently been postponed from 12 January to 2 February 2022, with the UK Takeover Panel giving JKO until 26 January 2022 to clarify its position.
Aristocrat said in a filing that its bid “remains the only firm offer that has been made for Playtech.
“The Recommended Acquisition provides attractive value in cash and enhanced regulatory and financial certainty for Playtech shareholders,” the company said. “Aristocrat further notes that any other potential bidders have already had a substantial amount of time to make an alternative proposal for Playtech. The decision to further delay the relevant shareholder meetings extends the period of uncertainty for all Playtech stakeholders.
“Aristocrat is pleased to note the recent recommendations to Playtech shareholders from proxy advisers to vote in favour of all the resolutions to implement the Recommended Acquisition. Aristocrat further confirms that the regulatory approvals process remains well on track, and it is committed to completing the acquisition as quickly as possible.”
Aristocrat recently raised AU$1.3 billion (US$965 million) towards its proposed acquisition of Playtech via retail entitlement and institutional entitlement offers.