In a move that brings little clarity to its opaque and tangled financial affairs, Playtech, the gambling world’s biggest back-end software provider, has finally off-loaded its so-so fintech arm, Finalto, for US$250 million in cash (£210.62m/€249.15m).
With Playtech making the sale to its own second biggest shareholder, secretive Far-Eastern-based Gopher Investments, in a start-stop-start saga that’s played out over a year, it could be likened to a game of pass the parcel – if not a spin of keeping it all in the family.
Where this leaves Playtech’s own fiscal future is anyone’s guess.
The Isle-of-Man-based supplier of online gaming and sports betting software, founded in 1999 in Estonia by Teddy Sagi and now helmed by the charismatic Mor Weizer, is still being fought-over by Australian betting group Aristocrat, who have bid £2.7 billion for the company (US$3.2bn/€3.19bn), and a Hong Kong cabal that goes by the name of TTB Partners.
Way back in the Covid mists of time, the Playtech board agreed to sell under-performing Finalto to the Barinboim Group, an Israeli consortium, for US$210 million (£176.92m/€209.28m).
But shareholders rejected the proposal. They backed Gopher’s higher, all-cash bid.
Now, after a series of stops and starts, Gopher’s acquisition of Finalto has, finally, been finalised.
“Gopher is delighted to have completed the acquisition of Finalto,” Teresa Teague, a Director at Gopher, confirmed this week.
“We have been impressed by the strength of Finalto’s business and management team and look forward to working closely with the team to accelerate Finalto’s ambition to become the global partner of choice in the financial trading sector,” she added.
Meantime, Playtech’s own tortuous takeover saga continues.
A fresh bid by TTB Partners is believed imminent.
Watch this space.