In the United Kingdom and online casino games developer Playtech has reportedly issued JKO Play Limited with more time to officially prepare a £2.7 billion ($3.7 billion) takeover proposition after last month urging the entity to hurry things up.
According to a report from the Evening Standard newspaper, the Isle of Man-based innovator is already sitting on an official offer from Australian gaming machines behemoth Aristocrat Leisure Limited and could also be about to receive an analogous proposal from the Gopher Investments arm of boutique finance firm TTB Partners Limited. The source detailed that any such sale would need to be signed off by at least 75% of the target’s investors as they look to free the London-listed company from net debts worth approximately $909.5 million ($1.2 billion).
JKO Play Limited is reportedly run by former Formula One supremo Eddie Jordan (pictured) in partnership with respected gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin and was last month told that it had until January 5 to make a firm bid for Playtech. However, yesterday purportedly saw the iGaming giant defer a scheduled shareholder vote on the Aristocrat Leisure Limited proposition by a further three weeks to February 2 and give any interested buyers until January 26 to finalize their offers.
The Evening Standard reported that the new delay has fuelled speculation that Sydney-headquartered Aristocrat Leisure Limited could be gazumped by JKO Play Limited in its campaign to acquire Playtech. Ivor Jones from British investment banking specialist Peel Hunt purportedly told the publication yesterday that the pause suggests there may be ‘sufficient substance to the potential offer’ being put together by Jordan and O’Loughlin.
For its part and Aristocrat Leisure Limited reportedly responded to the news by declaring that its own bid ‘remains the only firm offer’ and would provide ‘attractive value in cash and enhanced regulatory and financial certainty’ for the shareholders at Playtech. The company furthermore purportedly proclaimed that JKO Play Limited has ‘already had a substantial amount of time to make an alternative proposal’ and that the fresh delay will only extend the ‘period of uncertainty’ for any stakeholders.
Although Playtech pronounced that talks with JKO Play Limited are ‘progressing’, its inability to vote on the offer from Aristocrat Leisure Limited is reportedly moreover complicating a move from Caliente Interactive to list with the Nasdaq bourse. This Mexican entity is purportedly intent on completing the $2.5 billion float in partnership with American special purpose acquisitions company Tekkorp Digital but is growing increasingly exasperated with the delay from a firm that currently owns 49% of its shares.
Despite the fresh postponement and Playtech reportedly asserted that it is continuing to unanimously recommend that its shareholders vote in favor of the proposition from Aristocrat Leisure Limited. Nevertheless, this situation could purportedly change should JKO Play Limited come up with an offer that is superior to the proposal already floated by the current front-runner.