Gopher Investments

Playtech's second-largest shareholder walks away from takeover race

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Playtech's second-largest shareholder, Gopher Investments, on Friday walked away from a potential three-way takeover battle for the UK gambling software developer, claiming it was committed to a separate deal to acquire only the financial arm of the company.

The announcement comes a few days after the company said it had received a takeover approach from JKO Play, a group led by former Formula One team owner Eddie Jordan, and Keith O’Loughlin, a former executive at Scientific Games. In October, Playtech's board recommended a $2.8 billion offer from Australia's Aristocrat Leisure for its overall business to shareholders.

Hong Kong-based Gopher, which owns a 4.97% stake in Playtech, said the process relating to its $250 million deal to buy Playtech's financial trading division, Finalto, was ongoing and expected to close next year second half. Gopher had gatecrashed an earlier sale agreed between Playtech and a consortium led by Israeli private equity firm Barinboim for the unit.

Aristocrat stated last week that it continued to work with Playtech to complete the proposed acquisition as planned in the second quarter of 2022, adding that the regulatory approval process was on track "with the timetable previously announced and Aristocrat is focussed on progressing this quickly."

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