Playtech buying Amaya or OpenBet would be a surprise – analyst says

By David Cook
An industry expert has told Gambling Insider that Playtech is unlikely to have success in its rumoured acquisition attempts of Amaya and OpenBet.

The Sunday Times claimed Playtech could make a bid to acquire PokerStars owner Amaya as part of its strategy to use £800m in available funds.

Playtech declined to comment when contacted about The Sunday Times’ report, which followed The Telegraph’s claim that Playtech is interested in acquiring fellow provider OpenBet and is in competition with a William-Hill backed bid from NYX Gaming Group.

Warwick Bartlett, CEO of Global Betting and Gaming Consultants, thinks that while Amaya could be a lucrative proposition, it would be unfamiliar territory for Playtech.

Bartlett said: “I would be surprised if Playtech acquired either OpenBet or Amaya. Playtech has its own sports-betting software and has an integrated common-wallet strategy across all its products so there is a good chance they will pick up business over time when contracts elapse.

“I had thought that Playtech wanted to diversify out of i-gaming into financial services, which seemed logical given the consolidation in i-gaming.

“Amaya has halved in value since being acquired from the founders. Poker is in decline, but Amaya has a huge database of gamblers that could be useful to Playtech. However, the switch from software provider to operator is no easy task when so much resource, time and effort is used to generate software products.”

Playtech was at the centre of a number of M & A stories last year, including attempts to acquire trading platform Plus500 for an approximate £459.6m and Forex broker Ava Trade for $105m.

The deals for both Plus500 and Ava Trade were terminated, however.

In the case of Plus500, Playtech were not able to meet terms set out by the Financial Conduct Authority to complete the purchase before a deadline of the end of the year.

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