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Former F1 boss Eddie Jordan joins Playtech takeover battle

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The takeover battle for gambling software business Playtech is heating up after former Formula 1 boss Eddie Jordan confirmed he is mulling a takeover bid.

Mr Jordan said on Thursday that a consortium, called JKO Play, led by himself and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin is “evaluating making a competing offer”.

Playtech also confirmed the interest in a statement following reports by Sky News, helping to drive an increase in the company’s share price as it fuelled speculation about a potential bidding war.

Isle of Man-based Playtech said the consortium has lined up potential financing from New York private investment firm Centerbridge Partners.

The potential bidder is continuing with its diligence and no financial commitment has yet been confirmed by Centerbridge, although JKO is also discussing other sources of debt finance.

“As such, there can be no certainty that JKO’s approach will result in an offer for the company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made,” Playtech added.

JKO is the third potential party in the frame for Playtech, which agreed a 680p-per-share offer from Australian firm Aristocrat last month, which valued the business at £2.7 billion.

Shareholders are currently due to vote on the move at a meeting in January.

“Aristocrat believes that the terms of the recommended acquisition and the compelling strategic rationale provides certainty for Playtech shareholders with no contingent value or other complicated structures for shareholders to realise value,” the Australian bidder reiterated on Thursday.

“Aristocrat also believes that the combined group will provide greater opportunities to Playtech employees.”

Gopher Investments, a vehicle which is already the second-biggest shareholder in Playtech, has also confirmed in recent weeks that it is evaluating a bid.

Playtech confirmed that it received a preliminary approach from Gopher on October 21 and that discussions are continuing to take place.

Shares in Playtech were 4.4% higher at 773.9p.

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