Playtech and Aristocrat Shareholder Meetings Delayed Over JKO Interest

Playtech has decided to postpone shareholder meetings in which Aristocrat’s takeover is set to be approved as a way to buy more time to discuss with JKO Play on a potential bid. Up until recently, Aristocrat was the frontrunner to acquire Playtech as the two companies agreed to a $3.7 billion deal in October 2021, even though there were some bumps along the road.

Meetings Have Been Rescheduled From January 12 to February 2

The original plan was for Aristocrat and Playtech to hold general and court meetings on January 12, but the due date has been pushed to February 2 as a way to give JKO Play more time to come up with the terms of a potential effort it will now have several weeks to table.

Under Rule 2.7 of the UK Takeover Code, JKO Play has until 5 pm on January 26 to state its position on the potential bid. The company made the initial approach to Playtech back in November and after hitting a snag, JKO decided to enter the race once again.

Playtech stated that the discussions are progressing and that is why it decided to push back the original deadline for the JKO bid from January 5 to January 26.

In a statement, the company said that it is in the interests of all Playtech shareholders to extend the deadline and push back the dates to finalize the agreement with Aristocrat, however, JKO must clarify its standpoint. Playtech also noted that even though a new date has been set, that does not guarantee that JKO will come forth with a certain offer.

Aristocrat Reiterated That Its Offer is The Only Firm Bid

While speaking on the delay, Aristocrat stated that its offer remains the only firm bid on the table and provides Playtech shareholders with higher financial and regulatory certainty and attractive cash value. It also added that other potential bidders had more than enough time to make an offer and by delaying the shareholder meetings, the only thing that extends is the uncertainty of Playtech’s shareholders.

The company did note, however, that it remains on track and is committed to completing the acquisition ASAP. Early projections state that the takeover will be finalized in the second quarter of 2022.

In order for the Aristocrat deal to take effect, Playtech had to sell Finalto to Gopher Investments for $250 million back in December 2021.

Then, Gopher displayed some interest in actually acquiring Playtech after Aristocrat stepped forward with the $3.7 billion offer, but decided to withdraw and give Aristocrat more room. At the time, Gopher stated that it could come up with a new offer if Aristocrat decides to back off from the purchase.

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