Published: January 20, 2022

JKO Play, a consortium led by former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan, has pulled its $3 billion (€2.64 billion) planned takeover bid of gaming software company Playtech.

The move comes after it emerged that an Asian shareholder bloc comprising 27.7 per cent of the shareholding in Playtech is against any potential new offer for the company.

Many of these shareholders are believed to have recently bought into the company at prices that are considerably higher than rival bidder Aristocrat Leisure’s 680 pence a share offer.

JKO confirmed its withdrawal from the deal on Friday morning.

“Our team worked tirelessly to assemble a bid that would create value for Playtech’s shareholders and open an exciting new chapter for the business,” said Mr Jordan.

“I’m immensely proud of the energy devoted to this project by our advisory team and partners and of the close relationships we have built. We continue to evaluate a number of opportunities in the gaming and associated technology sectors, where we see exciting growth prospects in a number of international markets,” he added.

The consortium had been given until 5pm on Wednesday next to make a firm offer to purchase Playtech, after an initial deadline of January 5th was extended. It is understood the emergence of the shareholder bloc significantly dampened the Jordan-led consortium’s appetite for a bid.

Playtech, which supplies online gaming software for companies such as Paddy Power, is valued at around €2.6 billion. Aristocrat Leisure, an Australian slot machine maker, previously put forward a $2.84 billion bid for the company, that was recommended by the board. A third potential bid from Gopher was withdrawn in November.

Sports betting

The rush of interest in Playtech comes as the US has opened up to sports betting. Shares in the company, which is listed in London, closed up 0.6 per cent at 730 pence on Thursday.


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