Gopher to Challenge Aristocrat Over Playtech Acquisition

Australian slot machine firm Aristocrat Leisure may have to bid for the acquisition of the London-listed gambling software group Playtech as Hong Kong-based Gopher Investments considers putting more money on the line.

Gopher Challenges Aristocrat

Playtech originally agreed to be acquired by Aristocrat in October when the Australian firm proposed a $3.64 billion deal. However, this may now be a subject to change, according to SkyNews. The news outlet reported that Gopher is in alliance with Rothschild bankers and working on an acquisition offer that will be much more appealing to Playtech. According to industry specialists, Gopher might offer as much as $4.07 billion for the gambling software group.

On November 8, Playtech revealed that Gopher first proposed outbidding Aristocrat on October 21, just four days after Playtech had agreed to the deal with the latter company. According to the software group, Gopher inquired on what terms would be convincing to Playtech. Playtech also said its discussions with Aristocrat continue.

Gopher’s proposition is not yet set in stone. For one, industry analysts are not quite sure what the investment firm’s acquisition offer would look like, considering that the Finalto agreement is yet to be finalized.

Gopher May Have the Upper Hand Because of the Recent Finalto Deal

Should Gopher decide to pursue its proposition, Aristocrat will have to compete for the acquisition. Gopher is set to be a fearsome opponent as the investment firm is already one of Playtech’s shareholders. Moreover, it wouldn’t be the first time Gopher has outbid a competitor.

Last month, the Hong Kong-based investment firm put forward $250 million for the acquisition of Playtech’s financial trading division Finalto. Before that, Playtech had decided to sell Finalto to the Israeli private equity fund the Barinboim Group for $210 million. However, the software company’s shareholders rejected the deal, which eventually led to the current agreement with Gopher.

Teresa Teague, a member of TT Bond Partners that Gopher is an affiliate of, spoke on the Finalto deal:

“As a major shareholder in Playtech, Gopher is pleased to conclude a transaction delivering value for all shareholders and looks forward to working with the Playtech board and continuing its constructive dialogue to support growth.”

TT Bond Partners’ Teresa Teague

That deal for Finalto’s acquisition is still awaiting shareholder approval which might affect the current agreement with Aristocrat.

Airstocrat, on the other hand, published a response to the Gopher approach.

“Aristocrat’s long-term engagement with regulators across key gaming jurisdictions, together with strong financial fundamentals, deep customer relationships and established presence in global gaming markets, positions Aristocrat to complete the transaction as planned in the second quarter of the calendar year 2022,” Aristocrat said.

The company added that it believes this will provide “certain value” to Playtech shareholders. It will continue to work with the software company to progress the recommended acquisitions.

Aristocrat urged Playtech to “vote in favor” of the Aristocrat acquisition.

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