That takeover battle for online gambling software company Playtech has taken another surprising turn after Eddie Jordan is considering a bid.
Jordan, the Irish tycoon who made a name for himself with Formula 1, said in a brief statement that a consortium led by himself and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin was “evaluating making a competitive proposition” for Playtech. .
Playtech said Jordan and O’Loughlin had arranged for potential financing from New York leveraged buyout firm Centerbridge Partners. The pair is currently doing due diligence at Playtech. Negotiations are “in the early stages and are ongoing.”
Shares of Playtech rose 21.8p, up 2.9% to 762.8p.
Jordan and its allies are the third group to throw their hats in the ring to buy Playtech. The company last month sealed a deal to sell itself to Australian slot machine maker Aristocrat for £2.7 billion. Since then, major Playtech investor Gopher Investments has said it is considering a countermeasure of its own.
Aristocrat said today that it is continuing to move forward with its acquisition plan, which should require regulatory approval. The Australian company urged Playtech investors to back their offer.
The company said: “Aristocrat believes that the recommended acquisition terms and compelling strategic rationale provide certainty for Playtech shareholders, with no emergent value or other complex structures to realize value for shareholders The Aristocrat also believes that the combined group will provide more opportunities to Playtech employees.”
Playtech shares are trading above 680p, which is the level Aristocrat offers. This suggests that investors expect a firm counterbid to emerge. The Aristocrat may be forced to sweeten his offer if the deal wants to be sealed.
AJ Bell’s investment director Russ Mold said: “Former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan’s third takeover approach sets the scene for a bidding war.”