Gopher pulls out of Playtech bidding war as JKO Play enters

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Playtech has revealed that Gopher Investments, the 4.97% shareholder in the supplier that was said to be working on an offer to acquire the whole business earlier this month, will not make an offer for the company.

Gopher already held an agreement with Playtech to acquire its Finalto finance division, and the announcement that it will not make a bid for the entire business does not affect the existing agreement, to which Gopher remains fully committed.

The Finalto acquisition is underway and expected to complete in H1 2022, in accordance with the rules of the Takeover Code.

However, Gopher reserves the right to set rules from the Takeover Code aside in certain circumstances.

Gopher may withdraw its offer in the event that the £2.7bn acquisition offer announced by Aristocrat lapses or is withdrawn, if a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer for Playtech, if Playtech announces a ‘whitewash’ proposal or a reverse takeover, or if there has been a material change of circumstances as determined by the Takeover Panel.

A firm intention to make an offer for Playtech may be forthcoming from JKO Play, a company controlled by former motorsport team owner Eddie Jordan, and gaming industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin.

Playtech announced yesterday that the firm had approached it to request access to certain due diligence information, in order to explore terms on which an acquisition offer might be made.

The preliminary approach indicated that JKO was in discussions with Centerbridge Partners LP, among others, regarding the possibility of it providing institutional debt and structured capital funding.

JKO has been provided with access to due diligence information for this purpose, however Playtech said the discussions are at an early stage and ongoing.

“There can be no certainty that JKO’s approach will result in an offer for the Company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made,” Playtech said.

Meanwhile, Aristocrat’s original bid for the business has been endorsed by Playtech’s board, and Aristocrat remains committed to completing the acquisition.

The UK Takeover Panel will soon announce the deadline by which any potential bidders must clarify their intentions in relation to Playtech.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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