Italy's GTECH calls extraordinary meeting to approve IGT buyout

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 04, 2014 7:19 AM

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian gaming group GTECH said on Saturday it will hold an extraordinary shareholders' meeting on Nov. 4 to approve steps needed for the completion of its $4.7 billion buyout of U.S. slot machine maker International Game Technology.

The purchase of the Las Vegas-based company, the largest foreign acquisition by an Italian firm since 2009, promises to shift GTECH away from its struggling domestic market and make it a major player in the casino business.

By calling the meeting, GTECH - the world's No. 1 lottery operator - intends to seek shareholder approval to seal its planned cross-border merger of GTECH into Georgia Worldwide plc, it said in a statement.

Georgia Worldwide plc will become the parent holding company for the combined operations of the two groups when the acquisition is completed.

Once approved, GTECH shareholders voting against the merger will be given the right to withdraw by selling their shares within 15 days of the registration of the merger resolution.

Exiting shareholders will be paid 19.174 euros per GTECH share, the statement said. This is a roughly 4 percent premium to Friday's closing share price, according to Reuters data.

With the purchase of IGT, GTECH would derive more than half of its around $4.1 billion revenues from foreign operations. It currently makes 60 percent of sales in Italy, which is struggling to emerge from its longest recession in 70 years.

IGT makes popular slot machines bearing brands such as that of TV show "Wheel of Fortune" and science fiction film "Avatar".

(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; editing by Susan Thomas)