Playtech’s £2.7 billion sale to the Australian gambling equipment maker, Aristocrat Leisure was hit with delays as Playtech moved to postpone a shareholder vote on the deal.

The UK online gambling software developer and content supplier, Playtech stated that it had pushed back shareholder approval of the Aristocrat deal. Initially, a vote was scheduled to take place on January 12, but now it will be held on February 2. Playtech’s Board of Directors has the deadline in order to provide more time for a possible counter bid from JKO Play, a group led by Formula One tycoon Eddie Jordan and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin. JKO Play emerged as a potential bidder for Playtech in November 2021. The group has been provided with due diligence information and has continued engaging with Playtech since the time they made their initial approach in November. However, the group has so far not tabled an offer.

Playtech said that discussions are progressing, and, as a result, JKO Play has requested time to enable it to develop a potential takeover offer. Initially, JKO Play was given until January 5 to submit a strong bid for Playtech. Both parties, including Aristocrat, have agreed and approved the deadline. However, the deadline has been pushed back to a date that would be set by a general meeting scheduled to take place on February 2.

In fact, Playtech stated that despite any postponement, there is no certainty that JKO Play’s approach will result in an offer nor certainty of the terms on which any offer might be made. Additionally, Playtech mentioned that its directors have continued recommending shareholders to vote in favor of the Aristocrat’s offer, stating it would provide liquidity and certainty. Aristocrat responded to the delay by emphasizing that its offer is the only firm bid on the table and provides “attractive value in cash and enhanced regulatory and financial certainty for Playtech shareholders.”

Banks Are Showing an Interest in Sponsoring Aristocrat’s Bid

In October 2021, Aristocrat agreed to acquire Playtech in a deal worth around £2.70 billion (€3.23 billion /$3.65 billion). The firm tapped UBS and Goldman Sachs for its $5 billion acquisition of Playtech. Goldman Sachs was working as an adviser on the transaction, and it was working with UBS on raising $1.3 billion in equity to fund the deal for Aristocrat. In November, Citibank announced its interest to join the other banks to facilitate finances for Aristocrat’s £2.70 billion takeover bid. Bidco, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aristocrat, agreed to purchase Playtech in an all-cash deal.

Also, UBS and Goldman Sachs transferred a portion of their commitments to Citigroup. Citi, therefore, entered into an interim facilities agreement for a bridge loan from UBS, Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company and Goldman Sachs Lending Partners to obtain the cash required for the acquisition. Citi will act as a joint book-runner and the lead arranger for the Takeout Loan Facility. Although Goldman Sachs and UBS already agreed on the deal, its fate would be decided on February 2 by Playtech shareholders.

Playtech’s £2.7 billion sale to the Australian gambling equipment maker, Aristocrat Leisure was hit with delays as Playtech moved to postpone a shareholder vote on the deal.

The UK online gambling software developer and content supplier, Playtech stated that it had pushed back shareholder approval of the Aristocrat deal. Initially, a vote was scheduled to take place on January 12, but now it will be held on February 2. Playtech’s Board of Directors has the deadline in order to provide more time for a possible counter bid from JKO Play, a group led by Formula One tycoon Eddie Jordan and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin. JKO Play emerged as a potential bidder for Playtech in November 2021. The group has been provided with due diligence information and has continued engaging with Playtech since the time they made their initial approach in November. However, the group has so far not tabled an offer.

Playtech said that discussions are progressing, and, as a result, JKO Play has requested time to enable it to develop a potential takeover offer. Initially, JKO Play was given until January 5 to submit a strong bid for Playtech. Both parties, including Aristocrat, have agreed and approved the deadline. However, the deadline has been pushed back to a date that would be set by a general meeting scheduled to take place on February 2.

In fact, Playtech stated that despite any postponement, there is no certainty that JKO Play’s approach will result in an offer nor certainty of the terms on which any offer might be made. Additionally, Playtech mentioned that its directors have continued recommending shareholders to vote in favor of the Aristocrat’s offer, stating it would provide liquidity and certainty. Aristocrat responded to the delay by emphasizing that its offer is the only firm bid on the table and provides “attractive value in cash and enhanced regulatory and financial certainty for Playtech shareholders.”

Banks Are Showing an Interest in Sponsoring Aristocrat’s Bid

In October 2021, Aristocrat agreed to acquire Playtech in a deal worth around £2.70 billion (€3.23 billion /$3.65 billion). The firm tapped UBS and Goldman Sachs for its $5 billion acquisition of Playtech. Goldman Sachs was working as an adviser on the transaction, and it was working with UBS on raising $1.3 billion in equity to fund the deal for Aristocrat. In November, Citibank announced its interest to join the other banks to facilitate finances for Aristocrat’s £2.70 billion takeover bid. Bidco, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aristocrat, agreed to purchase Playtech in an all-cash deal.

Also, UBS and Goldman Sachs transferred a portion of their commitments to Citigroup. Citi, therefore, entered into an interim facilities agreement for a bridge loan from UBS, Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company and Goldman Sachs Lending Partners to obtain the cash required for the acquisition. Citi will act as a joint book-runner and the lead arranger for the Takeout Loan Facility. Although Goldman Sachs and UBS already agreed on the deal, its fate would be decided on February 2 by Playtech shareholders.