Former F1 boss Eddie Jordan exits £3bn race for Playtech

The board of Playtech has recommended a bid from Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure

August Graham
Friday 21 January 2022 10:23
Irish millionaire Eddie Jordan pulled out of his bid for Playtech (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Irish millionaire Eddie Jordan pulled out of his bid for Playtech (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Former Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan has pulled out of the multibillion-pound race to buy software company Playtech, reportedly worried that his bid would be scuppered by a group of investors.

JKO Play, a company set up by Mr Jordan to buy London-listed Playtech, confirmed reports that it was backing out of the race.

On Thursday the Financial Times reported that JKO was worried that a group of Asian investors who have built up a 27% shareholding in Playtech could block its bid.

JKO had made an attempt to muscle into a deal which had already been agreed between Playtech and an Australian company.

Gambling machine maker Aristocrat Leisure bid 3.7 billion US dollars (£2.7 billion) for Playtech back in October.

The deal was accepted by Playtech’s board, and on Friday the company, which is part of the FTSE 250, reiterated its support for the Aristocrat deal.

There will be a vote on February 2.

However Playtech said it had an unusually bad idea of how its shareholders feel about the potential deal.

“The board continues to seek engagement with all of its shareholders regarding the Aristocrat offer.

“However, a number of material investors have not to date engaged meaningfully about their views on the Aristocrat offer, including certain investors that have disclosed or taken material positions in the company following the announcement of the Aristocrat offer.

“The absence of customary levels of engagement means that the board is approaching the court and general meetings without a clear understanding of whether these shareholders are supportive of the Aristocrat offer.

JKO is the second suitor to pull out of the race for Playtech after Hong Kong asset manager Gopher Investments dropped its interest in November.

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