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The online software giant Playtech grows in strength

Playtech, the online gaming software provider, are now the largest business quoted on the London Stock Exchange listing AIM. The Estonian business has just been valued at 1.2bn, with shares trading at 507p, up from their launch at 257p.

Much of their success has come from some very bold and smart acquisitions and partnerships. In 2008, they bought a series of gaming assets (both businesses and contracts) and then cleverly sold them for 163m to William Hill (The bookmaker who operates 2,300 bricks-and-mortar betting shops in the UK). The resulting business is called William Hill Online (WHO) which Playtech took a 29 per cent stake in.

Most observers believe the deal will beneficial to both parties and should transform William Hill's business in Europe's leading online gaming and sports betting businesses. Although the new company has hit many teething problems the joint venture brought in 20.1m in profits for Playtech, boosting pre-tax profits at the group from 35.7m to 61m for the year to December 31.

Playtech have also been busy signing up new operators to their online casino and poker software adding companies such as betfair, Virgin and Sega to the likes of Genting and bet365.

Playtech's ambition shows no sign of lessening and since the year end, the software specialist has made what some analysts think could be a very important partnership with Scientific Games, the world's largest lottery software provider. The deal is aiming to accelerate the group's incursion into the potentially rewarding business-to-government market.

CEO of Playtech, Mor Weizer, recently said: "As governments start to legislate for online gambling markets, their state lottery operators need online poker, bingo and casino and other internet gaming products to remain competitive." he said.


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