Playtech, a software company based in Douglas, Isle of Man, has reportedly rejected a takeover offer from Australian gambling firm, Aristocrat Leisure, after the company’s shareholders voted against the $2.84 billion deal.
Aristocrat required approval from more than 75% of the company’s shareholders at the meeting called in on Wednesday, however not more than 55% of votes were cast in support of the merger.
By 1348 GMT, Playtech's stock had risen 5% after it announced that it was reviewing and considering additional options, without further elaboration.
As per sources, TT Bond Partners, an investment firm based in Hong Kong, may make an offer for the British online gambling company.
Earlier, TT Bond Partners had played the role of advisor on an offer made to Playtech by Gopher Investments. However, Playtech's board has agreed on a proposal to relieve TT from constraints that may prevent it from making another offer.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gambling and gaming industry has seen a surge in mergers and acquisitions, with lockdowns and work from home bolstering the demand for online gaming.
Several of the acquisition targets have mostly been British bookmakers, with bidders seeking British industry expertise. In fact, Entain plc, the owner of Ladbrokes Coral, has already had to fend off two hostile takeover attempts from American rivals over the past year.
Last year, Playtech piqued the interest from a number of players. With Hong Kong-based investment Gopher, the company's No.2 stakeholder, and the JKO Play consortium, managed by former Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan, both approaching the firm with their respective bids.
As per sources, before Jordan dropped out in January, JKO intended to sell Playtech's Italian division to Entain.
Aristocrat claims that most of the dissenting shareholders bought shares in the firm after the gambling business's bid was disclosed in October. Now, per UK takeover rules, the company would not be able to make another Playtech bid for six months.
It had earlier requested that Britain's buyout regulator rule on whether a group of investors from Asia, who purchased big stakes, were behaving as a concert party, perhaps in violation of acquisition regulations.