Eddie Jordan-led company in £3bn-plus bid for Playtech

Former F1 boss has teamed up with Keith O’Loughlin

JKO, a company led by former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan, has confirmed it is part of a consortium behind a more than £3 billion (€3.6 billion) bid to take over British gambling technology group, Playtech.

The offer, which is the third takeover approach made for the company founded in 1999 by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, paves the way for a potential bidding war.

JKO is controlled by Mr Jordan and Keith O'Loughlin, a former executive at US-listed slot machine maker Scientific Games and a brother of Kevin and Barry O'Loughlin, founders of Irish tech company Nostra.

Mr O’Loughlin said JKO is talking with a number of investors over funding the deal with financing “well advanced”.


JKO previously bid for OpenBet, a US sports technology company formerly owned by Mr O’Loughlin’s previously employer. Scientific Games sold the company to Golden Nugget last month.

Mr O'Loughlin stepped down from his senior executive role at Scientific in June to team up with Mr Jordan to launch the bid for OpenBet. Prior to this, he was executive vice-president of OpenBet before it was sold to Scientific. He also served in senior roles at Ladbrokes and Boylesports as well as at Dermot Desmond's e-learning company, Intuition

Betting business

“I’ve been in the betting business for the last 10 years and worked across every side of the business. I’ve been a customer of Playtech, and a competitor and have great admiration for the business. I know the potential the business has,” he said.

“I come from a tech background and have a history of scaling businesses. Eddie is a marketing genius from his days of Formula One and he’s also been an early investor in a number of firms. We want to invest in businesses, not just to make a profit from them but to add value, “ Mr O’Loughlin added.

Shares in Playtech, whose customers include Paddy Power and Boyles Bookmakers, jumped 4.41per cent in mid-day trading to 771.8 pence after JKO’s bid was confirmed. The other bidders are Playtech’s second largest shareholder Gopher and a £2.1 billion bid from Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure, which has been recommended by the board. Playtech has a market capitalisation of more than £2.2 billion.

Mr Jordan, who was a racing driver himself, owned an eponymous Formula One team until 2005 which included drivers such as Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher.

In addition to his business interests he has served as a regular pundit on television.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist