JKO Play Limited secures financial backing for its planned Playtech purchase

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In the United Kingdom and JKO Play Limited has reportedly received backing from India-born millionaire Vikrant Bhargava (pictured) in its effort to purchase online casino games developer Playtech.

According to a Sunday report from The Times newspaper, Bhargava is one of the world’s wealthiest iGaming entrepreneurs after helping to establish now-subsumed online casino and poker operator PartyGaming in the 1990s and serving as that firm’s Marketing Director. The source detailed that the 49-year-old businessman is thought to have a net worth in the region of £500 million ($678 million) and has now agreed to part-finance JKO Play Limited’s attempt at buying Playtech.

Central source:

After stepping down from PartyGaming in 2006, Bhargava reportedly established a Gibraltar-registered private investment vehicle known as Veddis Ventures. It is purportedly thought that the tycoon’s support for the campaign from JKO Play Limited will come from this enterprise.

Potential partner:

The Times reported that New York-headquartered private equity investments firm Centerbridge Partners is moreover understood to be in discussions with JKO Play Limited regarding a structured debt agreement. The newspaper cited an unnamed source close to this firm, which manages global assets worth around $25 billion, as declaring that it ‘remains very engaged’ in the process of helping the enterprise run by former Formula One supremo Eddie Jordan and gambling industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin to better an earlier bid for Playtech lodged by Aristocrat Leisure Limited.

Delayed decision:

Isle of Man-based Playtech last week reportedly postponed a coming Wednesday shareholder vote concerning the £2.7 billion ($3.7 billion) takeover proposition from Aristocrat Leisure Limited in order to give other parties including JKO Play Limited more time to prepare their own bids. Anyone interested in buying the London-listed enterprise now purportedly has until January 26 to lodge a firm offer in advance of what is expected to be a definitive February 2 investor ballot.

Waning weight:

Established in 1999, Playtech supplies a vast array of games and software solutions to some of the world’s premier iGaming domains. However, the innovator’s standing has recently been on the slide with its aggregated revenues for the whole of 2020 having declined by 25.1% year-on-year to £901 million ($1.2 billion) as the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on both its business-to-business and business-to-consumer operations.

Continuing commitment:

For its part and Sydney-headquartered Aristocrat Leisure Limited is reportedly still interested in buying Playtech and asserted last week that its own bid ‘remains the only firm offer’ and would provide ‘attractive value in cash and enhanced regulatory and financial certainty’ for the enterprise’s shareholders. The Australian behemoth purportedly furthermore declared that JKO Play Limited has ‘already had a substantial amount of time to make an alternative proposal’ and that the fresh delay will only extend the ‘period of uncertainty’ for any stakeholders.