Online platform provider Playtech unsure of shareholder intentions ahead of Aristocrat takeover vote

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UK platform provider Playtech plc says it remains uncertain whether major investors plan to vote in favor of a takeover bid for Australian slots giant Aristocrat, despite a competing bid failing.

JKO Play Ltd, a consortium led by former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan and former Scientific Games executive Keith O’Loughlin, confirmed on Friday that it had chosen not to make a binding offer to acquire Playtech following reports of rejection by a bloc of Asian shareholders. Those shareholders, with a combined 27.7% stake, would include AsianLogic founder Tom Hall and International Entertainment Corp chairman Stanley Choi, among others.

JKO Play previously announced plans to submit a $3 billion bid for Playtech, slightly more than the $2.9 billion takeover bid originally announced by Aristocrat in October.

Reports claim the Asian bloc acquired much of its stake in Playtech within months of Aristocrat’s bid and at a price above the 680 pence per share offered by the Australian company.

In a Friday announcement, Playtech said it “continues to seek engagement with all of its shareholders regarding Aristocrat’s offer. However, a number of significant investors have not communicated meaningfully to date. their views on the Aristocrat Offer, including certain investors who have disclosed or taken significant positions in the Company following the announcement of the Aristocrat Offer.

“The absence of customary levels of engagement means that the board of directors approaches the Court and general meetings without knowing clearly whether these shareholders support Aristocrat’s offer.”

Playtech also said JKO Play is now barred from submitting a bid for the company for a period of six months, after previously postponing a shareholder vote on the issue from January 12 to February 2 to give JKO Play more time.

With the vote now rapidly approaching, Aristocrat said on Friday that it “urges all Playtech shareholders to vote in favor of the recommended acquisition at the relevant shareholder meetings to be called on February 2, 2022.

“Aristocrat further urges Playtech’s Board of Directors to take all available steps to complete a transaction with Aristocrat that allows Playtech shareholders to receive full and fair value for their investment.”

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