Online gaming, esports, and gambling are among the world’s biggest forms of entertainment. The latter, now generally called iGaming, is expected to be valued at $127.3 billion by 2027 by the global statistics research of PR Newswire. This staggering figure is further emphasised on the rise of crypto-based online casinos and sportsbooks, mobile-friendly games, and strong security with AI (artificial intelligence). Now, the global gambling scene looks at the interesting bidding war for Playtech.
Founded in 1999 and licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), Playtech remains one of the leading and biggest brands and developers of casino and video gaming applications across the globe. Whether you are a land-based casino player or digital native, you might have heard some of their cutting-edge products and content. You might have seen their games on various betting platforms like Gamdom Canada.
The bidding war for Playtech
Around the second quarter of 2021, the iGaming industry was taken aback by the news of Playtech’s financial trading division named Finalto being up for sale. Shortly after, it received three offers from other behemoths in the industry as well. These are Gopher Investments, Aristocrat Leisure (ASX: ALL), and JKO Play.
Gopher Investments is a Hong Kong-based investment vehicle supported by investors who specialise in gaming and financial services. For one, they are the second-largest shareholder of Playtech. However, they announced on November 19, 2021 that they withdrew their spot in the race to purchase the software giant.
Gopher’s withdrawal doesn’t mean that they are not potentially next in line to commit to the acquisition. This is because according to the statement of Rule 2.8. of the Takeover Code (the ‘Code’), they reserve the right to set such restrictions apart from the following circumstances:
- ‘with the agreement of the board of Playtech’
- ‘if a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer for Playtech’
- ‘if Playtech announces a ‘whitewash’ proposal’
- ‘if there has been a material change of circumstances’.
The second company that has joined the bidding process is Aristocrat Leisure. Based in Australia, it is a world-class gaming content tech company and mobile games publisher that offered a £2.1 billion deal to Playtech.
In a statement, Aristocrat said they were continuing to work with Playtech to finalise the proposed purchase, and that the regulatory approval process was proceeding as planned. They are expected to complete it in the second quarter of 2022.
Lastly, the most recent player to join the process is JKO Play Limited led by former F1 boss Eddie Jordan. Like Gopher, they are a well-established investment and acquisition company in the gaming sector. Their difference in the competition is that their ‘informal’ offer on November 17, 2021 came after Playtech shareholders accepted Australian juggernaut Aristocrat’s multi-billion-pound deal.
JKO Play’s intervention has given a new dimension to a deal that would otherwise be unchallenged. That is why Playtech recently imposed a deadline on them in making a firm offer in order to quicken the acquisition process.
‘JKO must, by 5:00 pm on 5 January 2022, being the seventh day prior to the date of the shareholder meetings, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Playtech under Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for Playtech’, they said.
A bright future for Playtech and iGaming
The bidding war for Playtech is a key indicator that iGaming is a profitable industry today and in the years to come. Furthermore, many companies taking major leaps in raising the stakes also ensure that Playtech is in good hands. Regardless of the changes, you will certainly still enjoy their games as they are readily available on many platforms like Gamdom Canada.