JKO Play gains extended January 26 deadline for Playtech offer


JKO Play has been handed an extended deadline to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Playtech or withdraw its acquisitive interests, after the latter adjourned a shareholder meeting to approve Aristocrat’s £2.7bn transaction.

After it was confirmed this week that the shareholder meetings to approve the offer will be adjourned to February 2, 2022, JKO Play has received an extension to the date that was previously set at 5pm on January 5, 2022.

As a result of the adjournment, the UK’s Takeover Panel has ruled that the company now has until 5pm on January 26, 2022, the seventh day prior to the date of the adjourned shareholder meetings, to unveil a firm intention to make an offer or announce that it does not.

This deadline will cease to apply if, before that time, a third party other than JKO rolls-out a firm intention to make an offer for Playtech.

Aristocrat itself said that it “is please to note the recent recommendations to Playtech shareholders from proxy advisers to vote in favour of all the resolutions to implement the recommended acquisition”.

Furthermore, the Australian-listed gaming group adds that the regulatory approvals process “remains well on track,” and that it is “committed to completing the acquisition as soon as possible”. 

In November 2021 it was confirmed that JKO, led by former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan and ex-Scientific Games executive Keith O’Loughlin, had become a third potential suitor of Playtech, as reports swirled that a £3bn counterbid could be in the pipeline.

However, Aristocrat has consistently remained the frontrunner to secure any potential transaction after making its move in October, with an offer that values the company at £2.7bn, or 680 pence per share, a 58 per cent premium on its closing price during the prior week.

If successful in acquiring the company, Aristocrat has voiced an intention of leveraging its new Snaitech division to ‘operate and innovate’ in Europe, whilst also aiming to boost its revenues, expand its customer reach and provide material scale in online gaming.

Should JKO indicate that it does not intend to follow up its initial acquisitive interests, the Aristocrat transaction had been scheduled to close during the second quarter of 2022.

Also in December, shareholders of Playtech approved the sale of the company’s financial trading division, Finalto, to Gopher Investments, meeting one of the key conditions of Aristocrat’s prospective buyout of the firm. 

Gopher, a 4.97 per cent shareholder of Playtech, had also previously indicated its interest in pursuing its own counter offer for the company, before withdrawing from the running a day after JKO first signalled its potential interest.