A fourth potential buyer of online casino specialist Playtech has pulled out of a proposition to buy the beleaguered firm.
TTB Partners, a Hong Kong based investment firm that is thought to include a number of existing Playtech shareholders within their ranks, has decided not to make a formal offer for the slots and table game developer.
The news sent the share price of Playtech tumbling by a staggering 20% as their board of directors plan what to do next.
TTB cited ‘challenging underlying market conditions’ as their reason for reneging, and claimed that such unforeseen circumstances would make it impossible to ‘create the right structure’ for the new entity.
They had initially expressed a desire to make a full cash offer for the London-listed operator back in February, but seemed to go cold on the idea in the weeks thereafter – so much so that Playtech issued a ‘put up or shut up’ style deadline extension, which would have ended at 17:00 today (July 15).
As the clock ticked down, TTB Partners’ representatives – who were operating on behalf of an unnamed investment group – confirmed that they had moved their interest elsewhere and would not be making an offer.
A Timeline of Trouble
It has been a forgettable couple of years for Playtech as far as their sale is concerned, however the company continues to be a profitable venture – it’s unlikely that outside interest from investors will come to an end anytime soon.
Their first-half of the year earnings call showed adjusted earnings before EBITDA of a handsome €200 million (around £170 million), which is up around 40% on the same period in 2021.
They reported success for both their business-to-business and business-to-consumer operations, with ‘strong momentum’ in the Americas – and an uptick in live casino gamers – acting as the catalyst.
The chair of Playtech’s board of directors, Brian Mattingley, reflected on an ‘excellent’ first half of the year and said:
“This process has shone a spotlight on the fundamental premium value of Playtech’s businesses and the board will continue to consider options to maximise value for all shareholders.”
There’s no doubt that Playtech is an attractive proposition for investors, and one that many analysts have claimed is ‘undervalued’ by the stock market. Operating worldwide, the firm is a market-leader in a number of different niches, and has working supply deals with a number of leading casinos and bookmakers such as Betfair, Ladbrokes and William Hill.
They have also struck licensing agreements with the likes of News Corp and Warner Bros, the latter deal handing them the rights to make slot games using DC’s much-loved collection of characters.
That’s why Australian operator Aristocrat made a £2.1 billion offer to buy Playtech in 2021 – that was eventually rejected earlier this year, and it’s why TTB were rumoured to have been considering a 700p per share offer that would have valued the software firm at a cool £2.2 billion.
But in the end, that potential deal has fallen by the wayside, as have previous offers from suitors including Gopher Investments – a business said to be affiliated to TTB Partners – and JKO Play, the gaming consortium set up by former Formula One chief Eddie Jordan.