Playtech has confirmed that it has received a preliminary approach from a third suitor that is looking to acquire the gambling tech firm, with JKO Play, led by former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan and Keith O’Loughlin, ex-Scientific Games, evaluating a competing offer.
The consortium is working with US private investment firm Centerbridge Partners regarding the provision of institutional debt and structured capital funding, with media reports suggesting that a £3bn counterbid could be in the offing.
The company is said to be “seeking access to certain due diligence information in order to explore terms on which an offer for Playtech by JKO might be made”.
Playtech noted that “discussions with JKO are at an early stage and there is no certainty that JKO’s approach will result in a firm offer for Playtech, nor as to the terms on which any firm offer may be made”.
This follows Gopher Investments making a similar preliminary approach to the group earlier in the month, after Playtech had previously confirmed that a £2.7bn takeover bid had been received from Australian-listed gaming manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure.
Gopher, an investment vehicle which is also a 4.97 per cent shareholder in the firm, previously completed the long-mooted purchase of the Finalto financial service division from Playtech in September for $250m.
Regarding this latest approach, Aristocrat noted that “Playtech’s discussions with JKO are at an early stage and there is no certainty that JKO’s approach will result in a firm offer for Playtech, nor as to the terms on which any firm offer may be made.”
However, the Australian-listed gaming manufacturer added: “Aristocrat and Playtech are continuing to work together to implement the recommended acquisition.
“The regulatory approval process is on track with the timetable previously announced and Aristocrat is focussed on progressing this quickly.”
Earlier in the day, Trevor Croker, Aristocrat CEO and managing director, said of the potential transaction: “Aristocrat’s recommended offer to acquire Playtech, announced after period end, is another demonstration of our appetite to accelerate the implementation of our strategy through accretive M&A, in particular where it can deliver new capabilities and access to significant growth opportunities.
“We are focused on achieving necessary approvals, and continue to expect the acquisition to complete in the second quarter of calendar year 2022.”