Aristocrat’s Playtech bid rejected by UK Tier 1 institutions
Former CEO of Playtech Tom’s room singled out Aristocrat for orchestrating the campaign around the group of Asian investors who allegedly built a blocking stake in Playtech ahead of the shareholder vote and acted in concert to block Aristocrat’s bid, the Financial Times reported .
False Driving Claims and Stock Timings
The name of Hallwho was the CEO of Playtech from 2003 to 2005, was implicated in media reports that Asian investors had bought Playtech shares at prices higher than the price offered. 680p per share by Aristocrat with the idea of blocking the offer. In the end, Aristocrat did not get enough shareholder votes and the bid was dropped.
According to the report compiled by a private investigation firm, which prompted the UK’s Takeover and Mergers Panel to launch an investigation, Hall, a Hong Kong resident since 1989, was the mastermind behind the group of anonymous investors.
The report went further by listing the “key links” between various Hong Kong-based investors, accusing some of them of “proximity to organized crime”, in its redacted version seen by the FT but according to a source anonymous with knowledge of the panel’s deliberations, the Hong Kong investors were never considered to have worked in concert.
Speaking to the media, Hall dismissed the idea that he was acting as a go-between for those people referencing some of the names on the Asia-based investor list. He confirmed that he had never heard of or spoken to these people, as he told the Public Inquiry Committee. Hall also said the panel was misinformed of the timing of his Playtech stock purchases.
Key stakeholders felt the supply was too low
Hall broke his silence on the merits of the latest approach from TTB Partners, another candidate to acquire the technology provider which has yet to submit a binding offer. Playtech CEO Mor Weizer, who openly endorsed the group when asking to join as an investor, also said that some “UK-based tier 1 institutions, some former employees and some people who are still involved in the business” also voted against Aristocrat’s bid as they deemed it too weak.
Hall, who owns a 1.34% stake in Playtech, also told the panel that his trading in the company’s stock dates back three years. He is currently working on a management buy-out with Weizer backed by TTB Partners.
Hall reportedly contacted TTB following Aristocrat’s failed bid, then asked Weizer to join him in facilitating the company’s expansion into the United States. Weizer has personal licenses in several US states and has led Playtech launches in Michigan and New Jersey.
Hall and Weizer, reportedly backed by two major financial institutions in the UK and US, have no plans to break up the group by overhauling its Asian operations or selling its Snaitech retail arm in Italy. and submit a higher offer than Aristocrat to Playtech. board soon.