There’s no longer any legal impediment that could stop UK-listed technology supplier Playtech Plc from acquiring Italian betting and gaming operator Snaitech SpA (Snaitech).
In a disclosure to the London Stock Exchange, Playtech announced that the Italian regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli has approved its plan to buy a majority stake in Snaitech for a sum of €291 million (US$359.2 million).
The deal involves an estimated 70.6 percent of the issued share capital of Snaitech, according to Playtech. Upon the completion of the initial acquisition, Playtech will be required to make a mandatory offer for all remaining Snaitech shares.
Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said that he sees the acquisition as an opportunity “to improve the quality and diversification of Group revenue” while “delivering exposure to high growth end markets, by utilizing the strength of Playtech’s balance sheet.”
The UK firm expects to wrap up the initial purchase of Snaitech shares in June while the overall transaction will be completed later this year. The UK firm said that it will be holding a general meeting for Playtech shareholders on May 29, 2018, to discuss the deal.
Gambling observers pointed out that the Playtech-Snaitech deal comes at a time when the British government announced sweeping gambling reforms, including the slashing of fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) maximum stakes to £2, hiking the Remote Gaming Duty, requiring online gambling operators to implement stronger verification rules and set limits on consumers’ spending, as well as hiking the age limit for lottery games.
The Snaitech acquisition was also seen as Playtech’s way of boosting profits after it experienced a slowdown in its gaming division revenue due to the Malaysian government’s crackdown on gambling syndicates. Playtech considered Malaysia one of its largest Asian markets.
Last week, the company said that it will “continue to explore further M&A opportunities with complementary businesses in the B2B Gaming division.”