One day after voting down a $3.7 billion acquisition bid from Aristocrat Leisure, Playtech revealed it was in talks with TTB Partners Limited.
Hong Kong-based TTB is acting on behalf of a group of investors with an interest in acquiring Playtech. Neither the group nor the potential purchase price has been disclosed at this time. However, there are indications that the group could be Shanghai-based Gopher Investments, or overlap significantly with them.
In Playtech’s Statement Re: Media Speculation today, it said:
“There can be no certainty as to whether this will result in an offer for the Company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made. However, any offer, if made, is likely to be in cash.”
In North America, Playtech is one of the bigger online gambling software providers. In US online casino circles, it’s known as the main live dealer competitor to Evolution and that company’s subsidiary, Ezugi.
TTB won’t be the bidder
Yesterday, Playtech shareholders met at noon in London and declined Aristocrat’s offer. At 1:37 p.m. yesterday, Playtech posted the results of the vote.
As part of Playtech’s explanation for turning down Aristocrat, Playtech said it had other offers. However, Playtech only called them “third parties.”
Yesterday afternoon, a TTB representative or representatives approached Playtech, according to today’s Playtech announcement.
TTB did so “on behalf of an investor group to be formed and advised by it,” the Playtech announcement said.
That’s where things start to get complicated.
Playtech wants to show it’s following the rules
Aristocrat’s statement yesterday indicated that it would not pursue Playtech further, and made mention of an “unresponsive bloc of shareholders.”
These shareholders had acquired their stake in Playtech after October 2021. At that time, talks with Aristocrat were already underway.
A month later, TTB-advised Gopher pulled out of its $250 million bid for Playtech’s financial trading business, Finalto. The Isle of Man-based online gambling software supplier is looking to sell off Finalto in order to concentrate on online gambling products.
At the time, Gopher owned nearly 5% of Playtech’s stock.
A Jan. 31 article from Bloomberg characterized the successful effort to scuttle the Playtech-Aristocrat deal as coming from “Asia-based investors … who together own over 20% of the company.”
Today, Playtech said:
“[The Playtech board] was contacted by TTB Partners Limited on behalf of an investor group to be formed and advised by it (“TTB”) requesting that Playtech consent to release TTB from its restrictions under Rule 2.8 of the Code. This release was requested to allow a possible offer for the Company to be considered. The Board confirms that it has given the requested consent to TTB.”
Playtech had to wait until after the Aristocrat offer period ended in order to be able to waive Gopher’s six-month restriction period on bidding on Playtech. Otherwise, Gopher would’ve had to wait until May 20 to enter into an offer period with Playtech.
As if that’s not confusing enough, Playtech then said it needs TTB to relay an offer by June 17.
Playtech stock is up more than 8% today.