Less than 24 hours after the bid from Aristocrat had failed to receive the required Playtech shareholder support, another candidate to acquire the London-listed tech firm crept into the picture after a report in Sky News revealed an approach from TTB Partners.
New Buyer Interest from Hong Kong
TTB Partners, a boutique investment and advisory firm regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, requested Playtech to release it from restrictions that otherwise would prevent the firm to table an offer.
TTB Partners served as an advisory to Gopher Investments on a takeover proposal for Playtech and, according to the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers, is prohibited from making a new offer within six months from the date of withdrawal of the previous bid, in this case, May 2022.
Based on unnamed sources from the City, the media report claimed that the Board of Directors at Playtech granted the request, essentially opening the door for a renewed bid in the next few days or weeks.
TTB Partners, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the incorporated in the Cayman Islands TT Bond Partners, is understood to be representing a group of unknown Hong Kong investors that are considering tabling a firm offer for Playtech.
“There can be no certainty as to whether this will result in an offer for the company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made. However, any offer, if made, is likely to be in cash,” said a spokesperson for Playtech.
New Shareholders Are Now Potential Buyers?
The media report did not state that those investors are the same who, according to Aristocrat CEO Trevor Crocker, acted as a “concert party” and scuppered the deal by acquiring a blocking stake before the shareholder vote and refusing to engage in any way with either Aristocrat or Playtech.
A look at the Playtech share register reveals the names of Birmingham City FC owner Paul Suen, Hong Kong heiress Karen Lo, and professional poker player Stanley Choi but it is not clear that the new buyer interest comes from the new Playtech Asian shareholders.
Aristocrat tabled a £2.1 billion ($2.85 billion) offer to acquire Playtech in October but the shareholder vote yesterday just confirmed what was clear from the moment the bid was made as it activated unprecedented interest in Playtech stock from Asian investors who began to acquire shares at a premium to the proposed by the Australian slot manufacturer acquisition price.
The new shareholders at Playtech reportedly spooked another candidate to acquire the business, Eddie Jordan-led consortium JKO Group, which was expected to table a bid via its investment vehicle JKO Play but was deterred from doing so due to concerns the offer would be blocked.