Playtech shares surge over 50% after agreeing to be taken over

© Reuters

By Samuel Indyk – Playtech Plc (LON:) shares were trading higher by over 55% on Monday morning after the company announced it had been agreed to be taken over by Aristocrat Leisure in a deal valuing Playtech at approximately £2.7 billion on an enterprise basis.

Australian gambling machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:) offered 680 pence per share in cash, representing a 58.4% premium to Playtech’s closing price on Friday.

The acquisition is intended to be recommended unanimously by the board of Playtech, with the directors considering the terms to be fair and reasonable.

“At this stage the deal looks like a fait accompli with Playtech’s board in favour and the deal pitched at a healthy premium which should be enough to persuade shareholders of its merits, even if the price falls short of the highs the company hit in 2017,” said AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould. “Assuming the transaction goes through it will bring to an end a tumultuous 15-and-a-bit years on the stock market for the company which was founded by Israeli serial entrepreneur Teddy Sagi at the turn of the century.”

The acquisition is conditional on the approval of shareholders and shall be put to them at the Court Meeting and General Meeting, with at least 75% of shareholders needed to vote in favour of the deal.

“This transaction marks an exciting opportunity in the next stage of growth for Playtech, and delivers significant benefits to our stakeholders, including our customers, our shareholders and our incredibly talented people,” said Playtech CEO Mor Weizer.

At 10:01BST, shares in Playtech were trading higher by 55.4%, but below the offer price at 666.0 pence per share.

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