TTB Partners drops plans to acquire Playtech

| By Robert Fletcher
Asia-based investment group TTB Partners has announced that it will not be making a bid to acquire gambling technology giant Playtech.
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TTB, which had until tomorrow (15 July) to confirm its intention to table a bid, said it would not proceed with the proposed deal due to “challenging underlying market conditions”.

The group added that it continues to be supportive of the Playtech board and the executive management team, as well as their strategy for Playtech and the prospects for the business.

TTB first approached Playtech over a possible bid in February this year when it asked to be released from certain restrictions in order to allow it to form and potentially make an offer.

The restrictions, part of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers, were put in place due to TTB’s role in advising Gopher Investments, a minority shareholder in Playtech, over its own potential takeover offer for the business. Gopher registered an interest in making a bid in November last year but dropped out of the running a few weeks later.

The restrictions on TTB, which would have blocked it from making an offer itself, were due to remain in place for six months from the withdrawal date, through to 20 May. 

Playtech opted not to lift the restrictions, but when the six-month period passed, an initial intention to bid deadline of 17 June was announced. This was then extended to 15 July.

The request to be released from the restrictions came after a bid from Aristocrat Leisure for Playtech, which was recommended by the Playtech board, was rejected by shareholders.

Responding to the announcement by TTB, Playtech said its board remains “very confident” about positive long-term prospects for the group, saying this has been evidenced in the recent trading performance across both its core B2B and B2C businesses.

For the first half of its 2022 financial year, Playtech said adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) is expected to amount to more than €200m (£169m/$200m), driven by both the B2B and B2C businesses. 

Playtech said the B2B performance was driven by strong momentum from the Americas, in addition to a strong performance across wider B2B operations, including its live casino offering. The provider added that its Snaitech business had an excellent first half, driven by its online business, retail recovery and favourable sports results.

“Playtech carries strong momentum going into H2 2022 and continues to perform very well across its core B2B and B2C businesses,” Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer said. “This performance reflects the quality of our market-leading technology offering and the hard work and commitment of our talented team. 

“We remain confident in our long-term growth prospects and, in particular, our ability to benefit from the structured agreements that are already allowing Playtech to access newly opened gambling markets.”

Playtech chairman Brian Mattingley added: “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. 

“The group’s B2B business continues to go from strength to strength while Snai is the number one sports brand across retail and online betting in the Italian market. 

“We are confident that we have the right strategy and the right team in place to build on this strong start to the year and deliver for all our stakeholders.”

Upon the announcement, Playtech’s share price collapsed from £5.21 at close of trading yesterday to £4.16 by 8:30 am BST this morning.

TTB’s withdrawal from the process comes after Playtech this week completed the sale of its Finalto financial trading division to Gopher for $250m, ending a year-long saga over control of the business.

Gopher outbid a consortium led by Barinboim Group, which bid $210m. The Playtech board initially agreed to sell Finalto to Barinboim, but this deal was rejected by shareholders, instead pushing for Gopher’s higher bid.

Playtech then agreed to sell to Gopher in September last year, with shareholders approving this in December.

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