Online casino games developer Playtech is reportedly drawing up contingency plans that could see it break up and sell off its operations should shareholders fail to approve a proposed $2.8 billion takeover offer from Aristocrat Leisure Limited.
According to a report from Sky News, investors in the Isle of Man-based innovator are due to vote on the around $9.17-a-share proposition from Aristocrat Leisure Limited via a February 2 ballot with any such deal requiring a 75% consensus. This vote had purportedly been due to take place on January 12 but had its deadline extended by three weeks earlier this month so as to give potential buyer JKO Play Limited more time to prepare its own bid.
Although this latter party subsequently pulled out of the race for Playtech, the source explained that the overall prospects of the offer from Aristocrat Leisure Limited could now be in danger due to a bloc of Asia-based investors that control some 27.7% of the innovator’s shareholding. This faction, which is thought to include the ownership of England’s Birmingham City Football Club, is purportedly thought to have bought in at a price higher than what the budding Australian buyer is willing to pay and is now determined not lose any money on the envisioned takeover.
Sky News reported that senior figures at Playtech are now meeting with a range of independent advisors in order to discuss the possibility of a full break-up should the iGaming firm fail to get the required number of investors on board with the offer from Sydney-headquartered Aristocrat Leisure Limited. The source detailed that the London-listed developer is currently believed to have an overall market value including debts of approximately $2.5 billion and could well begin this process with the separate disposals of its business-to-business and Snaitech SpA arms.
Brian Mattingley serves as the Chairman for Playtech and the experienced industry veteran has reportedly been leading consultations with advisors from a plethora of investment services firms including Wells Fargo and Company, Jefferies Group and Goodbody Stockbrokers regarding a future auction of his company’s interests. Nevertheless, his company’s official line purportedly remains that its investors should accept the offer from Aristocrat Leisure Limited so as to permit the innovator to immediately alleviate debts that are thought to have reached as high as $1.2 billion.
Reportedly read a statement from Playtech…
“The board reiterates its recommendation that shareholders vote in favor of the offer from Aristocrat Leisure Limited. Whilst Playtech has made significant strategic and operational progress and is in a strong position for the future, Aristocrat Leisure Limited’s proposal provides an attractive opportunity for shareholders to accelerate the delivery of Playtech’s longer-term value.”