Belfast Telegraph

Playtech given green light for £741m takeover of Italian rival

Italy’s financial markets watchdog paved the way for the gambling software firm to purchase the 19% stake in Snaitech it does not already own.

Gambling software firm Playtech has been given the green light by Italy’s market authority to complete its 846 million euro (£741 million) takeover of rival Snaitech.

Consob, Italy’s financial markets watchdog, has cleared the way for Playtech to purchase the remaining 19% stake in the business it does not already own.

It follows an initial acquisition of around 70.6% of the company, first announced in April, and further market purchases of another 10.3%.

Playtech has said the takeover will establish a strong presence in Italy, which has been cast as Europe’s largest and growing gaming market with a relatively under-developed online sector.

It also hailed Snaitech’s leading market position in retail betting and its experienced management team, which is staying on board after the acquisition is complete.

Snaitech logged revenues of around 890 million euros (£780 million) and underlying earnings of 136 million euros (£119 millions) in 2017.

The acceptance period for Playtech’s mandatory takeover offer will kick off on Tuesday June 26 and run until July 30.

The deal in its entirety values Snaitech at 846 million euro.

Playtech has said it expects to complete the acquisition in the fourth quarter.

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Playtech chairman Alan Jackson came under fire from shareholders (Playtech/PA)

The software firm made headlines last month after shareholders revolted over plans to raise the pay of chief executive Mor Weizer by 78%.

Mr Weizer’s pay rose to £4.2 million in 2017, up from £2.3 million the year before, despite the firm issuing a profit warning.

Around 59% of votes cast at the AGM were against the firm’s remuneration report.

Shareholders also lashed out at Playtech’s chairman Alan Jackson, who sits on the company’s remuneration committee, and John Jackson, chairman of the remuneration committee, for their role in setting pay.

A total of 43% of votes cast went against John Jackson while 35% of votes opposed the re-election of Alan Jackson.

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