After bringing on board industry veteran Keith O’Loughlin and securing the support of wealthy private equity firm Centerbridge, Eddie Jordan now has another high profile advocate as he continues his pursuit of casino software firm Playtech.
The former F1 supremo, via his JKO Play consortium, has been weighing up whether or not to make a £3 billion offer for the brand – a sum which would knock the current lead suitor, Aristocrat Leisure, out of the running.
Jordan has been given a boost by the news that Playtech have postponed a planned shareholder meeting until February 2, giving the Irishman more time to put together a bid that works for all parties.
And to that end, his available capital has been enhanced significantly with the news that poker tycoon Vikram Bhargava has agreed to jump on board with the project.
The 49-year-old, the co-founder of the PartyGaming casino and poker platform, has reportedly agreed to help finance the takeover offer, and with an estimated fortune of around £500 million Bhargava brings plenty of capital to the party.
It’s another slice of bad news for Aristocrat, who thought they had a deal to acquire the highly-regarded Playtech sewn up when they posted an offer of £2.7 billion back in October.
But a caveat that any bid of 10% or higher would be considered left the door ajar for others, and while interest from equity outfit Gopher Investments fell by the wayside, JKO Play have entered the running as Aristocrat’s main competitor.
Jordan and co now have around three weeks to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on their anticipated offer.
Who is Vikram Bhargava?
Considered something of a visionary in the iGaming sector, Bhargava’s interest in the battle for Playtech puts considerable financial clout and industry knowhow behind the JKO bid.
Born and raised in India, Bhargava graduated from the Institute of Management in Calcutta and also holds a degree in electrical engineering from the Institute of Technology in Delhi, so he was clearly a clever cookie right out of the gate.
Roles in business analysis at the Bank of America and British Gas set Bhargava up for the move that would define his career thus far – the figurehead behind PartyGaming.
He helped the firm to register what was, at the time, the largest IPO for an online company available on the London Stock Exchange, with a value of a cool £8 billion.
After helping to oversee the launch of PartyPoker, Bhargava’s own bank balance continued to grow considerably – in 2006, he was worth a reported £850 million, which at that time saw him included in the Forbes Rich List in India.
After leaving the Party group, Bhargava set up his own private investments firm called Veddis Ventures, and he has since plunged his considerable wealth into brands including KF Beauty and Hadean.
But his link-up with Jordan would represent his return to the sector in which he made his name, and add considerable power to what is already an authoritative outfit in JKO Play. The plot of Playtech’s future thickens….