MILAN, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Italian gaming group GTECH on Wednesday announced a plan to buy back shares for up to 9.5 percent of its capital.
In a statement the Italian lottery operator said its board had also approved its planned cross-border merger of GTECH into Georgia Worldwide plc.
The merger is part of plans by GTECH to acquire U.S. slot machine maker International Game Technology, it said.
Georgia Worldwide plc will become the parent holding company for the combined operations of the two groups when the acquisition is completed.
The Italian group announced in July it would purchase Las Vegas-based IGT for $4.7 billion (3.73 billion euro) to shift its operations away from its struggling domestic market and to become a major player in casino business.
The shares repurchase programme aims to ensure the regular trading of GTECH shares in the event of excess volatility or lack of liquidity on the market before the acquisition of IGT is finalised, the Italian group said.
It added the repurchase price could not be higher than 18.44 euros per share.
1 euro = 1.2612 US dollar Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by David Evans