Australia's Aristocrat Leisure makes $2.9 billion bet on online gambling provider Playtech

(Reuters) -Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure Ltd said on Monday it will buy gaming software supplier Playtech Plc for 2.1 billion pounds ($2.89 billion), offering new growth areas for the gambling machine maker including real money gaming.

Shareholders of London-listed Playtech are being offered 680 pence per share, a 58.4% premium to the company’s closing price on Friday.

Aristocrat said Playtech’s board and its largest shareholder with an about 21% stake have backed its offer.

Playtech, however, was not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.

“The business will be ideally positioned to unlock sustainable shareholder value by seizing opportunities in the fast-growing global online RMG segment as they continue to open up, particularly in North America,” Aristocrat Chief Executive Officer CEO Trevor Croker said.

The Australian company said it will fund the deal with a A$1.3 billion ($964.21 million) equity raising, alongside new debt and existing cash.

The company added that the deal will add to earnings from the first year onwards.

($1 = 0.7273 pounds)

($1 = 1.3483 Australian dollars)

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