Ainsworth Investors Demand Buyout Deal
Australian pokie machine manufacturer, Ainsworth Game Technology, has announced that investors are demanding the same buyout conditions offered to owner Len Ainsworth. This demand comes just before the contentious vote regarding whether Ainsworth can sell his stake in the company to Austrian Novomatic.
“There’s been a wide range of talks with investors,” said Graeme Campbell, lead independent director at Ainsworth. “It’s a unique transaction and they want to know everything is being considered and a lot of them would like to be able to get their money out at the same price that Len is getting for his shares.”
Mr Ainsworth is hoping to sell his 53 percent stake in the company to gaming company Novomatic. Novomatic has already committed to buying Ainsworth’s pokie machines to use in their European casino operations. The initial deal that Mr Ainsworth agreed on was to sell his 172.1 million shares at $2.75 per share for a total of more than $470 million.
If this deal goes through, Novomatic will hold a significant share of the pokies market, although it has been reported that it could take up to 12 months for the company to receive probity clearances from certain US gaming regulators where Ainsworth currently operates.
Ainsworth chief executive Danny Gladstone has announced an extraordinary general meeting for May 13 to vote on the issue, although it looks likely that the company will apply to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for a two to three week extension which could push the EGM off until the beginning of June.
Mr Gladstone added that while he appreciated the view of the minority shareholders, Mr Ainsworth believes that only selling his majority stake to Novomatic is the best thing for the company and that he backs that view.
April 16, 2017