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Playtech boss cools on takeover support

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said he couldn’t be sure if he would back another takeover attempt after supporting one last year, as the gambling technology business reported a profit increase despite UK revenue slowing (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Archive)
Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said he couldn’t be sure if he would back another takeover attempt after supporting one last year, as the gambling technology business reported a profit increase despite UK revenue slowing (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Archive)

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said he couldn’t be sure if he would back another takeover attempt after supporting one last year, as the gambling technology business reported a profit increase despite UK revenue slowing.

The gambling tech provider seemed on course to be sold last year when Weizer threw his weight behind a proposal from Asian investment group TTB.

“I was always focused on Playtech and its growth,” he said. “At a certain point in time I did support a bid because I felt it was what shareholders wanted. But I am fully committed to the strategy of the business.

“Throughout all of the period, my focus was growth, and I think that is reflected in our results.”

TTB never submitted a bid, saying it wasn’t the best option given the economic climate at the time, but questions remained over whether it would eventually return. Weizer couldn’t say if he would back a new bid.

“It’s all theoretical,” he said. “I can’t say how things would evolve if market conditions were otherwise.”

The company reported profit of €405.6 million today, as revenue fell in the UK but grew everywhere else.

Playtech’s UK operations brought in €126.7 million, which was down 4% from last year, while revenue in every other region was up by at least 30%.

The company said the decline was mostly due to steps taken by its customers to pre-empt a number of major Government reforms to the gambling sector that have been repeatedly delayed.

Weizer said there could be some room for growth after the measures become official, as much of their impact has already been absorbed.

“Now that these preemptive measures are put in place, we believe that there is still some growth in the UK market.

The Americas were a particular success for Playtech, with revenue up 44% and overtaking the UK at €144.7 million.

Last week, it took an €85 million stake in Hard Rock Digital, the online arm of Native American-owned casino group Hard Rock International.

Weizer also said Playtech was not planning a US listing, but would watch how Paddy Power owner Flutter’s plans to list there turn out.