SBC News Dermot Desmond loses Playtech 'influence' appeal on Ladbrokes-Coral merger

Dermot Desmond loses Playtech ‘influence’ appeal on Ladbrokes-Coral merger

DermotdesmondIrish billionaire Dermot Desmond appears to have lost any chance of halting the merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral as the UK Takeover Panel has rejected his appeal regarding the influence of gambling technology provider Playtech on the deal.

Desmond who owns 2.8% of Ladbrokes Plc shareholdings had appealed to the Takeover Panel regarding the disclosure of an agreement which would see Playtech situated as the new enterprise’s main software provider.

On announcing the merger of Ladbrokes-Coral, Playtech which owns circa 9.7% of Ladbrokes shares, was awarded a £75 million provisions contract, consisting of £40 million in company shares and a further £35 million in cash attached to corporate targets achieved by the merged enterprise.

In November 2015, Desmond publicly criticised Playtech’s influence on the merger at a shareholders meeting, with the Irish financier urging voters to deny the deal.

“It is clear that Ladbrokes has failed to adequately disclose the basis for the extraordinary payment to Playtech. It was only in response to our requests that the Playtech amendment agreements were belatedly published on the company website,” he said.

Failing to win the support of Ladbrokes investors, Desmond representatives appealed to the Takeover Panel requesting a review on Playtech’s merger position and whether deal stakeholders had provided full information regarding the new contract.

Following its review, the Takeover Panel concluded that regardless of information disclosed Playtech’s £75 million contract would have had little influence on Ladbrokes shareholders decision to approve the merger. It also concluded that the agreement was through the regular course of business, meaning that the necessary disclosures were made at the time.

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