Shareholders have rejected a proposal to divest Finalto, Playtech’s financial trading division, to the Barinboim-led management consortium.
UK.- At a delayed general meeting, Playtech’s shareholders have rejected a bid for the company’s financial services division, Finalto, from the Israeli private equity fund the Barinboim Group.
Playtech’s board had already approved the $210m offer in May, but the general meeting to vote on the deal was delayed after the minority shareholder Gopher Investments put forward a rival bid offering $250m.
Playtech’s board finally decided to continue to support the Barinboim bid after Gopher failed to respond to certain questions the board made, which aimed to clarify issues around the group’s ownership and potential links to China. However, 68.3 per cent of shareholders, holding 164.3 million shares, voted against the deal.
That puts an end to the sale and purchase agreement, allowing Playtech to enter into negotiations with other parties, including Gopher.
The board said: “Playtech understands that by voting against the resolution to dispose of Finalto to the consortium, shareholders have been willing to accept the risk of the SPA terminating, thereby enabling Playtech to engage with Gopher and to potentially secure better terms for a sale of Finalto.”
However, the Barinboim consortium, which was created specifically to acquire Finalto, will continue to exist for the next 30 days and still hopes to close a deal.
It said: “If Playtech has not managed to enter into a fully binding agreement with Gopher within the next three weeks, it will be clear that Gopher’s interest is not genuine and the only credible transaction capable of concluding in the near term would be to the consortium, which has already been recommended by Playtech multiple times.
It added: “The consortium is confident that a deal will not be forthcoming within the three weeks Gopher claims it will take and when this becomes clear, the consortium will welcome the opportunity to engage directly with ISS and Glass Lewis in a constructive manner, which can only benefit Playtech shareholders.
“Playtech’s only option to sell Finalto within the next year will be to the consortium, which Playtech has repeatedly recommended.”