Playtech reschedules vote after failure to gain clarity on Gopher’s Finalto bid

| By Nosa Omoigui
Playtech has further delayed its general meeting in which shareholders were expected to vote on a bid to sell the company's financial trading division Finalto, until 18 August, after failing to receive clarity on rival bidder Gopher Investments' offer.
Playtech delays general meeting with looming Finalto sale

Shareholders were originally supposed to convene on 15 July to discuss an offer from Israeli investment business Barinboim Group – a deal which the Playtech board had already agreed to.

The meeting was delayed after a rival bid from Gopher Investments emerged, worth up to $250m. Gopher called for Playtech to delay its meeting and enter negotiations with the investment company, which led to the meeting being pushed back to 29 July.

The vote has now been pushed back to 18 August after Playtech said it had unsuccessfully attempted to gain clarity on the Gopher bid. Shareholders who have already submitted a proxy vote may contact Playtech’s registrar if they wish to change their vote.

Playtech expressed its concerns over Gopher’s ownership structure and whether this structure would create regulatory difficulties in completing the deal, particularly if Gopher’s ownership had connections to China.

A statement from Playtech said: “The proposal received from Gopher Investments is uncertain in terms of its deliverability, principally because it is not binding in nature and remains subject to a number of conditions.

“Under the restrictions in the sale and purchase agreement entered into with the Consortium on 26 May 2021… the Company is not entitled to directly engage with Gopher.”

However, Playtech and Gopher did enter into a dialogue over the past few weeks, delaying its general meeting to do so, with Playtech looking for further details on questions such as Gopher’s ownership, funding structure and potential regulatory approval of the deal.

While Gopher was initially co-operative during the process, Playtech said it is still waiting for answers to additional questions that it asked – leaving the supplier lacking the necessary clarity to proceed with negotiations.

As a result, the Playtech board’s support for the Barinboim deal remains unchanged.

Advisory body Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) had backed Gopher’s bid, arguing that shareholders should vote against Barinboim’s initial offer.

Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter

Digitain