Aristocrat’s offer gains support from Playtech shareholders
Australian gaming manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure’s $2.8 billion takeover offer for Playtech appears to be gathering steam with some shareholders publicly supporting the deal.
Wes McCoy, the investment director at Abrdn PLC, which owns a 2.4% stake in Playtech, described Aristocrat’s bid as “a fair assessment of value and certainty of cash.”
TIG Advisors LLC, an event-driven fund manager with a 1.4% stake in Playtech has also reportedly voiced its support for the takeover. This fresh wave of shareholder support comes as Playtech’s shares felt the pressure of speculation that the deal might not go through.
The company recently pointed out that several investors, some of whom had taken material positions in the firm since Aristocrat’s approach, have not “engaged meaningfully” regarding their standpoints on the deal.
Reports indicate that Playtech is in the process of creating a contingency plan to disassemble and sell-off its operations, should Aristocrat’s takeover bid be blocked by its Asian shareholders. These discussions are being conducted by the company’s directors and its investment banking advisers.
Chairman Brian Mattingley and other directors are purportedly alarmed by the prospect of a group of Asian investors who hold approximately 25% of Playtech’s stock combining their voting power to scupper the Aristocrat deal.
With the upcoming vote on this matter set to take place soon and requiring a 75% majority, the board and its advisers at Wells Fargo, Jefferies and Goodbody are preparing for the worst and setting up to auction off the company’s operations if the deal fails.
A Playtech spokesperson elaborated, saying,
“The board reiterates its recommendation that shareholders vote in favour of the offer from Aristocrat. Whilst Playtech has made significant strategic and operational progress and is in a strong position for the future, Aristocrat’s proposal provides an attractive opportunity for shareholders to accelerate the delivery of Playtech’s longer-term value.”
While Aristocrat’s offer is currently the only one on the table, the JKO Play consortium was also a contender, but recently withdrew its bid to acquire Playtech. Aristocrat took this as an opportunity to restate its takeover bid.
The operator released a statement in the wake of JKO’s departure, reminding Playtech’s shareholders that as the only bidder, its offer provides “full and fair value”, with “attractive cash certainty”.
“The Playtech board recommended acquisition remains the only firm offer available to Playtech shareholders, despite the substantial amount of time provided to potential bidders to make alternative proposals,” the statement continued.