Italian financial watchdog approves Playtech’s Snaitech takeover

Italian financial watchdog approves €846M Snaitech takeover

Playtech has cleared yet another hurdle in its bid to acquire Italian betting and gaming operator Snaitech SpA (Snaitech).

Italian financial watchdog approves €846M Snaitech takeoverIn a regulatory filing, the UK-listed technology supplier announced that Italy’s financial markets watchdog Consob has approved the purchase of the remaining 19 percent stake in Snaitech.

Playtech currently holds an 80.9 percent stake in the Italian gaming operator following the initial acquisition of around 70.6 percent of Snaitech’s issued share capital in April and another 10.3 percent in May. Playtech said that the initial acquisition of Snaitech carried a price tag of €846 million (US$1.05 billion).

With Consob’s blessing, Playtech has set the acceptance period for its mandatory takeover offer to start June 26 and run until July 30. The acceptance period will be reopened from July 31 to August 6, 2018 if certain conditions are met.

Snaitech is licensed by the Italian Monopolies Authority to offer gaming services and products, including sport and horse racing betting; virtual sports; video lottery; online and mobile poker, skill games, casino games, bingo; esports; and pari-mutuel betting.

The SNAI retail betting network has more than 1,600 points of sale throughout Italy. The group also operates 60,000 “New Slot” machines as well as more than 10,000 video lottery terminals.

For Playtech, acquiring Snaitech provides an opportunity to improve the quality and diversification of the company’s revenue, while delivering exposure to high growth end markets by utilizing the strength of Playtech’s balance sheet.

Gambling observers pointed out that the Playtech-Snaitech deal came as 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 raising 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 revenue due to the Malaysian government’s crackdown on gambling syndicates. Playtech considered Malaysia one of its largest markets in Asia.