Gambling software business Playtech has agreed a £2.7 billion takeover by Australian slot machine firm Aristocrat.

Isle of Man-based Playtech told investors it has agreed an offer worth 680p per share, representing a 58.4% premium on Playtech’s closing price on Friday.

The move is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2022, if shareholders approve the deal, the firms said.

The combination will create one of the world’s biggest business-to-business gaming firms and follows a period of busy acquisition activity in the UK gambling sector.

Playtech, which was founded in 1999, has pushed forward with a recent growth strategy, including expansion in North America, and believes the deal will help it accelerate these plans.

Chief executive Mor Weizer said: “This transaction marks an exciting opportunity in the next stage of growth for Playtech, and delivers significant benefits to our stakeholders, including our customers, our shareholders and our incredibly talented people.

“This deal has the potential to enhance our distribution, our capacity to build new and deeper relationships with partners, and bolsters our technological capabilities.

“The combination of our two companies builds one of the largest B2B gaming platforms in the world, with the people, infrastructure and expertise to provide our customers with a truly best-in-class offer across all areas of gaming and sports betting.”

Trevor Croker, chief executive of Aristocrat, said: “The combined group would offer a broad portfolio of end-to-end solutions for gaming customers around the world, as well as seamless player experiences, underpinned by a shared focus on responsible gameplay and innovation.

“The recommended offer is a full and fair value and reflects the strategic potential of the combination in a global gaming sector that continues to migrate online, as a result of technology and entrenched consumer-driven change.

“The proposed acquisition continues Aristocrat’s approach of investing in medium to long-term growth and we are extremely excited by the opportunities that this will bring for our shareholders, people, customers and players.”