Playtech shareholders reject Aristocrat takeover

Aristocrat’s publicized and drawn-out attempted acquisition of Playtech has collapsed as the latter’s shareholders this week rejected the takeover.

Playtech shareholders convened on February 2 to review Aristocrat’s recommended £6.80 (C$11.71) per-share cash offer.

An approval rate of 75 per cent was needed to approve the resolution and progress the deal, but a Court Meeting returned a 56.13 per cent rate and a General Meeting yielded an even lower proportion, 54.68 per cent.

As a result, the proposed £2.1 billion (approximately C$3.6 billion) acquisition of Playtech has officially been terminated and Playtech is no longer in an offer period.

Playtech had said earlier on February 2 that, in the event that Aristocrat’s offer was not approved by shareholders, the company plans to explore other opportunities to unlock shareholder value. It added it is evaluating “attractive M&A proposals” it has received from third parties regarding its B2B and B2C businesses.

Aristocrat managing director and CEO Trevor Croker voiced disappointment at the collapse of the deal and added the developments since the initial acquisitive announcement in October 2021 had “been highly unusual” and “largely beyond” its control.

“In particular, the emergence of a certain group of shareholders who built a blocking stake while refusing to engage with either ourselves or Playtech materially impacted the prospects for the success of our offer, which had been recommended by the board of Playtech,” Croker said, per Reuters.

However, Croker stressed that Aristocrat’s commitment to the RNG sector as part of its wider strategy will not be altered.

Meanwhile, Brian Mattingley, Playtech’s chair, said he was not disappointed because the process had “highlighted the fact that the company is valuable”, reports the Financial Times.

According to BNN Bloomberg, Playtech was contacted by TTB Partners about a potential takeover within hours of the Aristocrat bid being rejected, although there is currently no offer on the table. TTB’s parent company, Gopher Investments, withdrew its official interest in acquiring Playtech in November.

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