Cash-rich Playtech considers 2016 M&A spree

Cash-rich Playtech considers 2016 M&A spree

Thursday, February 25, 2016 Totally Gaming
Mor Weizer said that the operator was looking at M&A opportunities in gaming and finance

Playtech shares were up by more than five per cent today (Thursday) as the company announced double-digit growth and reiterated its strategy of acquisitions in both gaming and financial sectors.

The software and services provider said that revenues grew by 38 per cent over the course of 2015 to €630.1m ($694.3m), while adjusted earnings were up 22 per cent to €251.9 million. However, Playtech’s preliminary results also revealed what it described as a “one-off” adjustment relating to the UK’s new Point of Consumption tax rules and a subsequent one-per-cent drop in gross profits to €142m.

Playtech’s gaming division performed strongly in 2015, with the company adding that average daily revenue in the vertical for the first 53 days of Q1 2016 was up more than 12 per cent year-on-year.

Its financial division, which was rocked late last year by the regulatory problems that forced it to abandon the acquisition of both Plus500 and Ava Trade, saw a slight drop in revenues in the final quarter of 2015.

Alan Jackson, Playtech's chairman, said: “We have many opportunities for further growth, both organically and through M&A, with active discussions on a number of potential acquisitions in the gaming division. Should suitable acquisitions not be available, consideration will be given to returning cash to shareholders as we look to maintain an efficient capital structure.”

It is believed that OpenBet, the sports betting platform that is widely reported as being up for sale, is one of Playtech’s targets, but chief executive Mor Weizer also told investors today that the company is “in discussions” about “M&A opportunities” in financial trading.

Weizer, whose company has €857.9m in cash, would not comment on the OpenBet speculation, other than to say: “It is not a secret that they are selling the business.” He did not identify Playtech’s other targets.


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