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JKO Play drops bid for Playtech

JKO Play has abandoned its takeover bid for Playtech, clearing the way for its acquisition by Aristocrat.

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Playtech had previously extended the deadline for a formal offer from JKO Play, but the company has now dropped out of the race. A short statement from the firm read: “JKO Play Limited, a 0.51% shareholder in Playtech plc, does not intend to make an offer for Playtech.”

JKO Play, a consortium established by Formula One mogul Eddie Jordan and industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin, made a preliminary approach regarding a potential takeover on 5 November 2021. This came after Playtech received an offer from Aristocrat in October.

This was followed by a put-up-or-shut-up deadline from Playtech, forcing JKO Play to clarify its position by 5 January. But when this day came around, Aristocrat and Playtech agreed a three-week extension to the deadline.

Things heated up when Jordan secured financial backing for his bid from Indian-born British businessman Vikrant Bhargava. However, with the withdrawal of JKO Play’s bid, little stands in the way of an Aristocrat takeover.

“Our team worked tirelessly to assemble a bid that would create value for Playtech’s shareholders and open an exciting new chapter for the business,” said Jordan, as quoted by the Irish Times.

“I’m immensely proud of the energy devoted to this project by our advisory team and partners and of the close relationships we have built. We continue to evaluate a number of opportunities in the gaming and associated technology sectors, where we see exciting growth prospects in a number of international markets,” he added.

The Playtech board had previously backed an acquisition from Aristocrat, citing the “certainty and near-term liquidity of the acquisition”.

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