If Gtech Holdings Inc. is sold, as recent reports suggest, it may be marketed in pieces to buyers interested in its global lottery operations and gaming equipment business, analysts told Bloomberg News.
The Wall Street Journal published a report Tuesday indicating Gtech received an "unsolicited expression of interest" from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s private equity unit. Gtech, the world's biggest seller of computerized lottery systems, told Bloomberg News Monday it was considering an "unsolicited takeover offer" from a potential bidder it declined to name.
Gtech said yesterday it hired Citigroup Inc.'s Citigroup Global Markets to advise independent members of its board about a potential acquisition.
The WSJ said Goldman Sachs is trying to enlist joint bidders including Providence Equity Partners and Carlyle Group. Several private equity firms have rejected offers to be included in the buyout group, the newspaper said.
Private equity firms may acquire the online systems Gtech uses to run lotteries worldwide, Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. analyst Steven Wieczynski wrote today. International Game Technology, the world's biggest maker of slot machines, is a potential buyer of Gtech's gaming operations that include video machines in Harrah's Entertainment Inc. casinos, he said.
"The gaming solutions business will require a significant amount of capital over the next five years, which a private equity partner would probably not want as debt reduction is usually the biggest priority," according to Wieczynski, who's based in Baltimore and rates Gtech shares "buy."
Bloomberg reported that billionaire Richard Branson, whose Virgin Group Ltd. operates online casinos and slot games in the U.K., said he's not a potential buyer.
"Gtech may be the last company in the world I'd buy, actually," Branson said in an interview.
In 1998, a U.K. jury ruled that Gtech's co-founder and former chairman, Guy Snowden, libeled Branson. The ruling ended a court case stemming from Branson's claim that Snowden tried to bribe him to keep Virgin out of the running for the U.K. lottery license when it was awarded by the government in November 1995.