UK-based platform provider Playtech plc says it remains unsure whether key investors plan to vote in favor of a takeover bid by Australian slot machine giant Aristocrat, despite a rival bid falling through.
JKO Play Ltd, a consortium led by former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan and former Scientific Games executive Keith O’Loughlin, confirmed Friday that it had opted against making a firm offer to acquire Playtech following reports of pushback by a bloc of Asian shareholders. Those shareholders, with a combined 27.7% stake, are said to include AsianLogic founder Tom Hall and International Entertainment Corp Chairman Stanley Choi, among others.
JKO Play had previously outlined its intention to submit a US$3 billion bid for Playtech, slightly more than the US$2.9 billion takeover offer originally announced by Aristocrat in October.
Reports claim the Asian bloc has acquired much of its stake in Playtech in the months since Aristocrat’s offer and at a price higher than the 680 pence per share the Australian company is offering.
In a Friday announcement, Playtech said it “continues to seek engagement with all of its shareholders regarding the Aristocrat offer. However, a number of material investors have not to date engaged meaningfully about their views on the Aristocrat offer, including certain investors that have disclosed or taken material positions in the Company following the announcement of the Aristocrat offer.
“The absence of customary levels of engagement means that the Board is approaching the Court and General Meetings without a clear understanding of whether these shareholders are supportive of the Aristocrat offer.”
Playtech also said JKO Play was now prohibited from submitting any offer for the company for a period of six months, having previously postponed a shareholder vote on the issue from 12 January until 2 February to give JKO Play more time.
With the vote now rapidly approaching, Aristocrat said Friday that it “urges all Playtech shareholders to vote in favour of the Recommended Acquisition at the relevant shareholder meetings to be convened on 2 February 2022.
“Aristocrat further urges the Playtech Board to take all available steps to deliver a transaction with Aristocrat that facilitates Playtech shareholders receiving full and fair value for their investment.”