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Caliplay launches legal action against Playtech in Mexico

| By Robert Fletcher
Mexican online casino and sports betting brand Caliplay has launched legal proceedings against Playtech in an effort to annul a partnership between the two parties.
Caliplay Playtech

Filed in the 46th Civil Court of Mexico City, the claim references Playtech and its Playtech Malta and Playtech Software subsidiaries. Caliplay is the joint venture between Playtech and Mexican operator Caliente.

Caliplay is seeking to end the legal relationship with Playtech. It has made public the decision to pursue legal action as it impacts the running of its regulated business in Mexico.

This comes after the Mexican Court on 28 August accepted jurisdiction over the claim. The Court also issued a number of interim orders pending final resolution of that claim. These include the suspension of certain rights held by Playtech under the agreements. 

Playtech has been ordered to continue providing software and services to Caliplay pending resolution of the claim. This is despite the suspension of other rights including Playtech’s right to receive payments from Caliplay for such services.

“Caliplay is keen for this matter to be resolved quickly and is committed to maintaining a channel of communication with Playtech through which any disputes can be discussed and resolved,” Caliplay said.

Playtech’s response

Reacting to the news, Playtech said today’s (5 October) announcement is the first time it has been made aware of proceedings in Mexico. It also describes Caliplay as a “highly valued customer”.

“Caliplay is a highly valued customer and partner of Playtech,” Playtech said. “This has been an extremely productive relationship for both parties.

“While Caliplay has stated that the Mexican courts accepted jurisdiction on 28 August 2023, Playtech only became aware of the issuance of proceedings today.

“Playtech has not yet had access to the court filings in Mexico. To the best of its knowledge, it has not yet been served with any proceedings. Playtech is therefore only aware of the matters in Caliplay’s announcement.

“Once Playtech has had access to Caliplay’s court filings and has been able to review the substance of any proceedings, the company will update shareholders further as necessary.”

Ongoing dispute between Caliplay and Playtech

The issue dates back to February. Playtech sought a declaration from English courts to obtain clarification on a point of disagreement with Caliplay.

This referred to whether Caliplay still holds an option to redeem an additional services fee element of the strategic agreement.

The option was structured so the amount payable would be agreed between the parties. If this was not possible, the fee would be determined by an independent investment bank valuing Playtech’s current entitlement to receive the additional services fee until 31 December 2034.

For the six months to 30 June 2022, this fee was €34.4m and €22.3m in the previous year. Playtech said the option is stated as being exercisable for a period of 45 days following the approval of the audited accounts of Caliplay for the year ended 31 December 2021. 

However, Playtech said the option had expired. It also referred to this in its interim report for the six-month period ended 30 June 2022.

Hitting back, Caliplay made it clear that it considers the option to have not yet expired. It also said it had no warning over Playtech’s decision to approach the courts of the matter.

Caliplay also said Playtech failed to reference board approval in its announcement, or its interim report.

At the time, Caliplay said it was keen to resolve the matter swiftly and was committed to the ongoing discussions.

Playtech eyes SKS365 Malta acquisition

Against this backdrop, news broke last week that Playtech has opened talks over a potential acquisition of SKS365 Malta Holdings. 

Playtech is reported to have lodged a bid of between £500.0m and £600.0m for the Italian-facing operator behind PlanetWin. The brand has a presence across both the online and land-based markets in Italy.

“Playtech confirms the group is currently participating in a process regarding the potential acquisition of SKS365 Malta Holdings,” Playtech said.

Flutter and Lottomatica have also been linked with a bid but neither have responded to the reports.

“Playtech is aware that there are other parties who are also participating in the process and who have expressed an interest in acquiring SKS,” Playtech said. “There can be no certainty that Playtech will be successful in the process nor that any transaction regarding the potential acquisition of SKS will be agreed.”

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