Playtech abandons €95m acquisition plans
Playtech, the online gambling software group, has abandoned plans to spend €95m buying a group of social gaming assets from its largest shareholder, Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi.
The company, which is seeking to graduate from Aim to the main market by the summer, said on Wednesday it had dropped the acquisitions in favour of a software license agreement for the unnamed assets.
A spokesman for Playtech denied there had been a shareholder backlash over the proposals, which analysts warned at the time would "disappoint" investors due to the related party nature of the transactions.
The spokesman said the process of securing shareholder approval for the deal, announced on April 17, through an EGM would have had a "stalling effect" on the company’s progress towards a premium listing.
"We saw on the day [of the announcement] some adverse reaction in the share price but it actually recovered as it was explained," the spokesman added.
Playtech said in a statement to the stock exchange on Wednesday: "Playtech remains committed and excited about the prospects for the impact of entering into the social gaming arena and believes it will aid the Company's growth in the future. However, the complexity around the process and timing with respect to the Company's move to the Main Market has influenced this decision."
The cost of the software licence agreement will be negotiated on "arm’s length terms", the company said
Details of the u-turn emerged as Playtech revealed revenues in the first quarter had more than doubled to €75.1m from €36.7m during the same period last year, helped by strong performances from its services division and casino software in particular.
Playtech's chief executive, Mor Weizer, said: "Playtech has made an excellent start to 2012. Year-on-year growth across all our products has been strong, with the exception of poker."