Italy approves Playtech's £741 million takeover of Snaitech

By Caroline Byrne

Italy’s financial markets regulator has paved the way for gambling software firm Playtech to buy the remaining 19% stake of rival Snaitech, completing its £741 million ($986 million) takeover.

Snaitech, a market leader in retail betting, posted revenues of about £780 million in 2017 and earnings of £119 million. Its management team will carry on after the acquisition.

In April, Playtech said it acquired 70.6% of Snaitech and subsequently bought another 10.3% of the company. Playtech, which provides software to many of the world’s biggest gambling companies, expects to complete the acquisition in Q4.

The takeover will help Playtech solidify its presence in a country with an under-developed online sector.  The landmark US Supreme Court ruling paves the way for legalised sports betting in the US could also help fuel Playtech's fortunes. 

Playtech was in the spotlight in May after it increased Chief Executive Mor Weizer’s pay by 78% from £2.3 million to £4.2 million, despite a profit warning. Weizer and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Smith have joined the board of Snaitech.

Weizer said the takeover is a continuation of the group’s “strategy to invest in leading retail brands in fast growing, regulated markets”.   

“The acquisition delivers the Board’s strategic objective to improve the quality and diversification of group revenue (while) delivering exposure to high growth end markets, by utilising the strength of Playtech’s balance sheet.”

Playtech, founded in Estonia in 1999, has more than 5,000 employees in 13 countries. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The company is a software and services supplier to the gambling industry with more than 130 licensees globally, including online, retail and mobile operators, land-based casino groups, and government sponsored lotteries. Its gambling software includes casino, live casino, bingo, poker and sports betting.

The acceptance period will start on Tuesday morning and end on 23rd July and the consideration, equal to Euro €2.19 per share, will be paid to the tendering shareholders on 30 July. If certain conditions were met, the acceptance period would be reopened for a further five trading days starting from 31 July.

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