The battle to buy Playtech has taken a shock twist after the firm’s existing chief executive announced plans to make a formal offer for the company.
Mor Weizer, the chief executive of the outfit since 2005, has revealed his intention to work alongside the Asian investments firm TT Bond Partners (TTB) in finally getting a takeover bid over the line.
It’s been reported that Weizer is plotting a potential buyout that would prevent Playtech from being broken up into a number of different saleable entities – the original plan of the firm’s directors after interest from Aristocrat Gaming, JKO Play and Gopher Investments all came to nothing.
As part of this new development, Weizer would no longer be involved in discussions about Playtech’s future direction – that could yet see the firm broken up into separate divisions, including B2B and specific regional operations, and sold to interested parties.
Weizer and TTB are also calling upon the expertise and contacts of Tom Hall, another former Playtech chief who is known as ‘Hong Kong Tom’, such is the power of his network in Asia.
Hall is known to already own an undisclosed stake in Playtech, although it’s unlikely to dwarf the 27% ownership of an Asian syndicate that essentially blocked Aristocrat’s proposed £2.7 billion takeover of the firm earlier this year.
Friends in High Places
The question is whether or not Weizer has the persuasive powers to convince the major shareholding group – which includes a number of high wealth businessmen and women in Hong Kong and Asia – that the TTB proposal should be accepted. They had previously refused to engage with Playtech’s chairman of the board, Brian Mattingley.
The presence of that consortium was enough to put off Eddie Jordan – his JKO Play investment operation had been circling Playtech and considering a possible offer, while TTB themselves had acted as advisors to Gopher, one of their subsidiaries, in their protracted flirtation….they also later decided to pull the plug on a potential deal.
That interaction would normally prevent TTB from entering discussions with Playtech officials as part of UK takeover law, which states that bidders cannot return with a fresh approach within six months of walking away from a previous negotiation.
However, the decision-makers at Playtech have agreed to waiver the rule and allow TTB to undertake necessary due diligence procedures.
TTB is an equity firm founded by banking duo Teresa Teague and Jonathan Bond, and they already have a number of tech-driven investments in Asia and the Western world to their name.
It was rumoured earlier in February that they were planning to make a bid above the 680 pence per share price agreed by Aristocrat in 2021, but representatives of the group are yet to disclose whether or not they plan to make a formal offer.
That said, allowing Weizer and Hall to buddy up with them suggests that one of the most drawn-out takeover battles in iGaming could be set to go on for a while longer yet.