Possible Bidding War Over Playtech on the Horizon Between Aristocrat and JKO Play Limited

Many in the gambling world know that the famous maker of poker machines, Aristocrat Leisure, was looking into acquiring Playtech, the renowned gambling software group. 

The $30 billion pokie behemoth proposed a massive $3.9 billion deal to acquire the Playtech group. Aristocrat recently also stated that it is confident it will be taking over the UK-based company sometime during the second quarter of 2022.

However, soon after this announcement was made, everyone heard the news of a newcomer approaching Playtech about a possible takeover. 

JKO Play Limited entered the picture when the company asked for access to specific due diligence information, which Playtech promptly provided. 

This can only mean that this company is interested in exploring which terms could be made about a possible deal. 

JKO Play Limited is a company controlled by Keith O’Loughlin and Eddie Jordan. The former used to be a senior executive at the US-based slot machine creator Scientific Games until July. The latter is a notable TV personality, businessperson, and former motorsport team owner. 

Playtech announced that it is interested in a deal with JKO Play Limited, which is only natural as the execs have already explored other deals. Playtech was already discussing a possible agreement with Gopher Investments, its largest stakeholder. The company specifically discussed this to explore a potential rival to the Aristocrat deal. 

All of this could lead to a bidding war in the months to come. 

However, Aristocrat is firmly set on this takeover — the company has already raised around $1.3 billion in equity to prepare the funds for the acquisition. 

Furthermore, Aristocrat’s CEO Trevor Croker also stated that the proposition is compelling both financially and strategically. 

The certainty over the deal was reinforced by the numerous commitments expressed by a Playtech investor controlling 16.5% of the company. 

On the other hand, JKO Play Limited has only talked to various firms about acquiring the funds for the takeover while making no real financial commitment.

Even though Playtech has expressed interest in JKO Play Limited, the company also stated that the discussions are still at an early stage and that there is no offer at this point. No terms were discussed either. 

In other news, Aristocrat released its yearly business results at the same time when announcing the Playtech deal. The company reported net profits of $820 million after taxes, which is around 40% lower than last year when it gained more thanks to a $1 billion tax benefit. 

However, the company’s profits still grew by 80% and are getting close to the pre-pandemic levels. Revenues were at $4.7 billion, a 14.4% jump. 27.5% of this was a boost in the company’s pokies business. 

All of this shows that Aristocrat is better-placed for the takeover, but only time will tell in which direction Playtech will go. 

About the Author

George Anderson
Author George, has over 25+ years’ experience in the Pokies and Casinos industry throughout Australia and New Zealand. Loves to research new Pokies games on the block and follows announcements from top industry providers about their upcoming releases. As soon as a new interesting pokie game appears on his radar, George is there to check it out and give you the scoop before anyone else and tell you about all casino sites where can play the latest game. Before this gig, George worked as Pokie game tester, making him an ideal candidate for this genre of work. He is also an animal lover and a proud owner of three dogs.