Playtech goes cold on Caliplay SPAC plans 

The board of Playtech Plc has suspended plans to divest its shareholding in Mexican B2C joint-venture Caliplay.

Announced during Q1 trading, Playtech revealed that it had entered discussions with JV partner Caliente Interactive to merge Caliplay with a SPAC vehicle that would subsequently list the company on a US stock exchange. 

This afternoon, Playtech issued a short statement, confirming that its plans had been abandoned as “capital market conditions have deteriorated significantly since the transaction was initially contemplated”.

Playtech owns a 49% share in the Caliplay JV, in which it receives a fee for software and services.

Following strong Q1 trading results, Group CEO Mor Weizer had branded Caliplay as a stellar investment for the FTSE250 technology group, which in 18 months had surpassed its target revenue of $100m.

The original plan to divest Caliplay via a SPAC merger and subsequent IPO saw dealmakers target a return of between $700-to-$800m on the JV investment.

Playtech stated that it would continue to explore “alternative opportunities with Caliplay management to build a standalone US gaming business under the Caliente brand focused on the Hispanic community in the US”.  

It noted: “Both parties (Playtech and Caliente) will continue to have discussion with the SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) and its associates regarding this alternative opportunity.”

2022 developments have seen Playtech’s M&A plans frustrated, as this July Hong Kong investment fund TTB Partners walked away from proposing its long-awaited acquisition offer due to changed global market conditions. 

Following the TTB deal rejection, Playtech governance stated that it would maintain focus on expanding its technology presence across new markets.

Group leadership revealed that it had reserved £60m in funds to pursue ‘strategic local partnerships in the US and LatAm’, in which Playtech targets becoming South America’s outright technology leader.

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