Playtech puts make or break deadline on JKO deal proposal 

The board of Playtech Plc has demanded that JKO Play, the consortium led by former F-1 team owner Eddie Jordan and business partner Keith O’Loughlin, submit its acquisition offer by no later than Wednesday 5 January 5:00 PM. 

The deadline sees Playtech put forward a ‘put-up or shut-up’ notice to JKO, which had made its initial approach on 17 November, requiring access to due diligence information of the FTSE250 technology group to propose its pending bid.

Yet to disclose its hand, JKO is competing against ASX gambling group Aristocrat Leisure, whose £2.7 billion offer was accepted by Playtech governance on 12 November.

As it stands, Aristocrat’s 680 pence per share offer will be put forward to Playtech investors at the firm’s next general meeting.

“JKO must, by 5.00 pm on 5 January 2022, being the seventh day prior to the date of the shareholder meetings, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Playtech under Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for Playtech,” read the statement.

“This deadline will cease to apply if, before that time, a third party other than JKO has announced a firm intention to make an offer for Playtech under Rule 2.7.”

Thus far, Aristocrat has avoided a bidding war in its pursuit of Playtech. Closing November, former suitor Gopher Investments –  a Hong Kong-based fund that maintains a 5% shareholding in Playtech – chose to withdraw its bid request.

Further developments saw Aristocrat clear a significant deal hurdle, as Playtech agreed to divest its Finalto financial trading division to Gopher.

Seeking to create global gambling’s outright leader in gambling technologies (retail and online), Aristocrat has underlined its oven ready deal in which the ASX company has secured rights on a £865 million equity raising to cement its all-cash deal and clear Playtech’s existing debt notes of £600 million.

Industry analysts anticipate that JKO will have to put forward a minimum £3 billion cash deal to sway Playtech governance of its overtures.

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