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Playtech seeks court clarification over Caliplay dispute

| By Robert Fletcher
Playtech has sought a declaration from the English courts to obtain clarification on a point of disagreement with Caliplay, its joint venture with Mexican operator Caliente.

The dispute relates to whether Caliplay still holds an option to redeem the additional services fee element of the strategic agreement between the two parties

The option in question was structured in a way that the amount payable by Caliplay to Playtech upon exercise would either be agreed between the parties or, if this was not possible, 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 through to 30 June 2022, the amount of this services fee was €34.4m (£30.8m/$37.1m), and €22.3m for the same period in the previous year, with Playtech saying that the business has continued to perform strongly since then.

The option, Playtech added, 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. 

Playtech said the option has expired and referred to this in its interim report for the six-month period ended 30 June 2022, published in September 2022. 

However, while Caliplay has yet not sought to exercise the option to date, the business has made it clear that it considers the option to have not yet expired, leading to Playtech contacting the courts for clarification on the arrangement.

“Caliplay is a highly valued customer and partner of Playtech and has been a highly successful and rapidly growing business,” Playtech said. “Playtech hopes to obtain clarification from the English courts and further updates will be provided, as required.”

Playtech last year mooted plans to spin off Caliplay, with the joint venture to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), allowing it to go public. The SPAC would also partner with a leading media business, focused on reaching Latin American customers in the US market.

However, Playtech noted that capital market conditions “deteriorated significantly” since the transaction was initially contemplated and, in July 2022, abandoned the plans.

At the time, Playtech said that it was still working on creating a business targeting Hispanic customers in the US using the Caliente brand, which is a market leader in Mexico.

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