Australian gaming business Aristocrat has snapped up UK gambling tech group Playtech in a £2.7bn deal.
It may not be popular with ESG investors but gambling is an area in which the London market clearly excels, reflected in the covetous glances UK-listed firms have attracted in recent months from overseas bidders.
Gaming technology group Playtech becomes the latest name to succumb as its Australian rival Aristocrat Leisure lives up to its moneybags name to swoop in with a cash offer.
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.
“The company has up until now been perceived as a victim of industry consolidation as its customer base effectively shrinks,” said AJ Bell’s 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.
“In recent years Playtech has had to contend with increased competition, regulatory changes and, of course, a global pandemic.
“The business had also become a little unfocused and untidy, however it has been in the process of streamlining its operations which, ironically, may only have made it a more attractive morsel for Aristocrat.”