Gambling software provider Playtech Plc is delaying for three weeks a shareholder vote on a takeover bid from Australia-based slot machine maker and digital gaming content provider Aristocrat Leisure Ltd, according to a Wednesday filing by the latter company to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Swapping the vote from January 12 to February 2, would give a rival suitor – JKO Play Ltd – the chance to say whether it had a “firm intention to make an offer for Playtech” under the rules of the United Kingdom Takoever Panel, “or announce that it does not intend” to do so, according to the filing.
The deadline for JKO Play to state its intention is January 26, according to the document, citing the Takeover Panel.
On October 18, Aristocrat made a circa AUD3.9-billion (US$2.84-bilion) cash offer to acquire Playtech, valuing its shares at GBP6.80 (US$9.21) apiece.
At the close of Wednesday trading, Playtech’s shares were valued at GBP7.295 apiece, a circa 7.3 percent premium to Aristocrat’s offer valuation.
On November 18, Aristocrat said Playtech had “received a preliminary approach” from JKO Play regarding acquiring Playtech.
According to U.K. media reports, JKO Play is controlled by Eddie Jordan, previously a team boss in Formula 1 motor racing, and Keith O’Loughlin, a former executive at U.S.-listed casino equipment and digital gaming content provider Scientific Games Corp.
Aristocrat said in Wednesday’s filing that its bid “remains the only firm offer that has been made for Playtech”.
The suitor added: “ The recommended acquisition provides attractive value in cash and enhanced regulatory and financial certainty for Playtech shareholders.”
That filing also stated that “any other potential bidders have already had a substantial amount of time to make an alternative proposal for Playtech.” The decision to further delay the relevant shareholder meetings “extends the period of uncertainty for all Playtech stakeholders,” added the slot machine maker.
“Aristocrat is pleased to note the recent recommendations to Playtech shareholders from proxy advisers to vote in favour of all the resolutions to implement the recommended acquisition,” it added.
The Australian company said additionally that the “regulatory approvals process remains well on track,” and that it was “committed to completing the acquisition as quickly as possible.”
The gaming equipment supplier said previously it expected the acquisition of Playtech to be completed in the second quarter of 2022.
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