Britain’s Playtech expects shareholder bid after Aristocrat bid collapses

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Dice and gambling chips are seen in front of the Playtech logo displayed in this illustration taken November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

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Feb 3 (Reuters) – Britain’s Playtech said on Thursday its second-largest shareholder may take a takeover approach to the gaming software company after its proposed $2.8 billion takeover failed by Australian Aristocrat Leisure (ALL.AX).

Playtech said it accepted a request from TTB Partners to release it from UK takeover rules which prohibit a company or its subsidiaries from making a new bid for six months after it leaves.

TTB previously advised affiliate Gopher Investments on a failed takeover proposal from Playtech.

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The Hong Kong-based investment firm’s request on behalf of an anonymous group of investors it plans to advise comes after Playtech shareholders on Wednesday rejected an offer to buy Australian gaming firm Aristocrat .

Playtech said there was no certainty any approach from TTB, its second largest investor with a 4.97% stake after Dublin-based Setanta Asset Management, would materialize into an offer.

TTB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Playtech shares jumped 10% to 643.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange at 0840 GMT, adding to a slight gain on Wednesday after the British company said it was considering other suitors.

Playtech, which bills itself as the world’s largest provider of online gambling and sports betting software, has attracted takeover interest in recent months as companies seek to capitalize on an online betting boom during the pandemic.

Besides Aristocrat and Gopher, a consortium led by former Formula 1 team boss Eddie Jordan had also expressed interest, but pulled out of the race.

Any offer from TTB can create “price tension”, analysts at Peel Hunt said, as Playtech considers other proposed mergers and acquisitions. They said it depends on the overall participation of the group of anonymous investors that TTB plans to advise.

Aristocrat’s 680 pence per share bid received less than 55% of Playtech shareholder votes, failing to meet the 75% requirement.

Aristocrat blamed an anonymous group of investors “who built a blocking stake” for the failure. Read more

($1 = 0.7377 pounds)

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Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Arun Koyyur

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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