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Playtech takeover battle heats up as ex-Formula 1 boss Eddie Jordan eyes surprise offer

·2-min read
Eddie Jordan in his Formula 1 days (Getty Images)
Eddie Jordan in his Formula 1 days (Getty Images)

The takeover battle for online gambling software company Playtech has taken another surprise turn after it emerged that Eddie Jordan is mulling a bid.

Jordan, the Irish tycoon who made his name with Formula 1, said in a brief statement that a consortium led by himself and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin were “evaluating making a competing offer” for Playtech.

Playtech said Jordan and O’Loughlin had lined up potential financing from New York leveraged buyout firm Centerbridge Partners. The pair are currently doing due diligence on Playtech. Talks are at an “early stage and ongoing.”

Shares in Playtech rose 21.8p, 2.9%, to 762.8p.

Jordan and his allies are the third group to throw their hat in the ring to buy Playtech. The company sealed a deal to sell itself to Australian slot machine maker Aristocrat for £2.7 billion last month. Since then, major Playtech investor Gopher Investments has said it is considering a counterbid of its own.

Aristocrat said today it was continuing to press ahead with its takeover plan, seeking the regulatory approvals needed. The Australian company urged Playtech investors to get behind its offer.

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

Playtech shares are trading well above 680p, the level of the Aristocrat offer. That suggests investors expect a firm counterbid to emerge. Aristocrat could be forced to sweeten its offer if it wants to seal the deal.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “A third takeover approach from former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan sets the scene for a bidding war.”

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