Former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan is part of a consortium that is considering an offer of $ 3 billion to Playtech.
Last month, Playtech’s board of directors recommended a $ 2.7 billion takeover offer from Aristocrat, the Australian gaming machine developer, to shareholders.
JKO Play, the consortium founded by Jordan and Keith O’Loughlin that formerly ran the sports betting operation of Nasdaq-listed Scientific Games, has confirmed that it is “evaluating a competing offer for Playtech”. JKO is in talks with US investment firm Centerbridge, among others, to fund a cash and stock offering for the company.
Playtech confirmed that its board of directors “has received a preliminary request from JKO Play to gain access to certain due diligence information in order to review the terms on which an offer was made for all of Playtech’s issued and outstanding share capital could be “.
Jordan’s leading role at JKO Play is just the latest in a career that has ranged from racing driver and F1 team owner to television expert and entrepreneur.
After winning the Irish Kart Championship in 1971, he drove in Formula 3 and Formula 2 races in the 1970s. After several serious accidents, he founded his racing team of the same name in 1980 and had significant successes in Formula 3 and Formula 3000 before founding a Formula 1 team in 1990.
The drivers who gave Jordan their break include Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine, while Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna (his favorite driver) also drove for him.
After selling a battered Jordan Grand Prix in 1995, he became an expert on Formula 1 coverage for the BBC from 2009 to 2015, then switched to Channel 4.
Through his family office, Jordan has invested in a variety of companies in recent years, from the Celtic soccer club to the game company Entain. Earlier this year, he founded JKO Capital to seek investments in gambling and entertainment companies.
In addition to JKO Play’s approach, Playtech is also reportedly in talks with Caliente, a gaming company that operates primarily in Mexico, on a potential joint venture through a public merger with a special purpose vehicle (Spac), Sky News reported for the first time on Jordan’s possible move to Playtech.
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Aristocrat said it is driving regulatory approval on its own offering for Playtech, has funding facilities and has completed an A $ 1.3 billion (£ 700 million) equity raise with “strong takeover by Aristocrat shareholders.” During the annual results presentation on Thursday, Trevor Croker, chairman of the board of directors of Aristocrat, also said he had received irrevocable commitments and letters of intent in support of the acquisition from a Playtech investor who represented 16.5% of the shareholder base of the London-listed company.
The next step in the potential bidding war will be the UK Takeover Board, which will announce a deadline by which JKO Play and Gopher will have to “clarify their intentions” with Playtech.