After Aristocrat's deal rejection

Playtech's current and former CEOs seek to enter takeover proposal with Hong Kong-based TTB

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer (left) and former CEO Tom Hall.
2022-02-22
Reading time 2:14 min

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer and former boss Tom Hall are teaming up with Hong Kong-based suitor TTB Partners to consider and support a new takeover bid for the UK gaming software developer.

TTB's approach came right after Australia-based Aristocrat’s $2.8 billion offer to acquire Playtech’s business got less than 55% of votes from shareholders earlier this month. However, the firm was under certain restrictions that prevent it from making a bid for six months after it advised Playtech's second-largest shareholder Gopher Investments.

Gopher, a consortium of Asian and American investors that owns 4.97% of the shares, withdrew its own bid for Playtech in November and the following month acquired only the financial arm of the company, Finalto. The decision to step back triggered a six-month restriction period, in accordance with UK rules. Playtech has said this restriction could be lifted on the consent of its board, and that it would be willing to consider a possible offer from TTB.  The new potential buyer asked to be released from these restrictions that prevented it from making another offer until 20 May, which Playtech confirmed it granted, as reported by Finance Feeds.


Playtech CEO Mor Weizer.

Weizer and Hall have now approached TTB and signaled their intention to participate in a potential offer, essentially giving their public backing to the takeover. Consequently, Playtech will form a new independent committee made up of all of its directors except Weizer. Per a regulatory filing, they will review any matters related to the possible bid from a group of investors from China and Hong Kong, as well as any other potential acquisition offers.

“TTB, on behalf of an investor group to be formed and advised by it notes that it has been informed by Mor Weizer, the CEO of Playtech, of his intention to explore his potential participation in the TTB Investor Group,” Playtech said in a letter to the stock market.

“TTB confirms that on Friday, 18 February 2022, it was approached by Tom Hall, a former CEO of Playtech, who indicated his interest in participating in the TTB Investor Group along with Mor Weizer. TTB has agreed to explore the proposal by Mor Weizer and Tom Hall to participate in the TTB Investor Group. Any such participation would be on terms compliant with the Code,” the statement further reads.

Aristocrat Leisure was the only bidder in the three-way race for Playtech after JKO Play, a consortium led by former Formula 1 boss Eddie Jordan and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin, had pulled out. Two advisers working on the deal told the Financial Times that JKO had decided not to go ahead with its offer over concerns that a block of Asian investors, who have been building stakes in Playtech since October and now own about 27% of the company, would block any deal that did not meet their perceived value of the company. In January, Playtech delayed its shareholder vote on Aristocrat's takeover proposal from its previously scheduled January 12 date to February 2, in order to have more time to consider JKO's proposal. 

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