Shareholders of Italy-based lottery equipment and management specialist GTEch SpA on Tuesday approved the merger of the firm into a subsidiary called Georgia Worldwide PLC established under the laws of England and Wales.
It is an early step down a road that will lead to GTech’s multibillion U.S. dollar merger with U.S.-based slot machine maker International Game Technology (IGT), and the listing of the new holding company’s ordinary shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
Under the rejig, Georgia Worldwide will become the holding company for the GTech-IGT merger. The ordinary shares of the U.K. holding company would then be listed on the New York Stock Exchange “to further increase the visibility of the combined group on international capital markets and to attract new investors”, GTEch has previously said.
The name of Georgia Worldwide may change before the effective date of the merger, according to the company.
The approval of GTech shareholders on Tuesday for the rolling of the firm into the U.K holding company had been expected, as the company is majority owned – with 58.7 percent – by the Italian conglomerate De Agostini SpA and a related company called DeA Partecipazioni SpA.
GTech gave an explanation in a Monday filing for why the holding company was being set up in the U.K.
It stated: “Once the transaction has completed, UKCo’s [Georgia Worldwide’s] main market is expected to be the United States, followed by Italy and the United Kingdom. Therefore, incorporating UKCo in the United Kingdom provides a geographic, logistic, cultural and linguistic balance between the several activities of the group and enhances the global profile of the combined company.”
GTech is listed on the Borsa Italiana in Milan.
GTech had approximately EUR3.1 billion (US$3.9 billion) in revenues and 8,600 employees in 2013, with operations in approximately 100 countries on six continents, according to the company.
The lottery firm in July announced it was acquiring IGT for US$6.4 billion, comprised of US$4.7 billion in cash and stock, and the assumption of US$1.7 billion in net debt. The deal is due to be completed in the first half of 2015.
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