Aristocrat Leisure to Buy Playtech in $3.7bn Gaming Deal


Aussie slot machine kingpin Aristocrat Leisure has made a giant strategic move into the online gaming and sports wagering industry after announcing the $3.7bn acquisition of Playtech. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

World’s largest supplier

Australian slot machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has announced the AU$5bn (US$3.7bn) takeover of the UK’s Playtech Plc, the world’s largest supplier of online gaming and sports betting software.

Leading Australian online stockbroking firm CommSec took to Twitter on October 18 to share news of Aristocrat’s acquisition of Playtech, citing the Aussie gaming giant saying the deal will “accelerate [its] growth strategy.”

The purchase will enable Aristocrat to enter new growth areas, such as sports wagering and online gaming. According to an Aristocrat statement issued October 18, Playtech shareholders are being offered 680p (US$9.35) per share, a premium of 58% over the company’s Friday closing price. Playtech’s directors who own shares in the London-listed firm have “irrevocably undertaken” to vote in favor of the takeover, the statement added.

Aristocrat stated it will raise AU$1.3bn (US$964.21m) in equity to help fund the acquisition, alongside new debt and existing cash.

The company added that the deal will create one of the worldwide gaming industry’s biggest business-to-business platform providers.

Aristocrat set for major growth

Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croker said the acquisition would offer gaming customers worldwide an extensive portfolio of “end-to-end solutions […] as well as seamless player experiences, underpinned by a shared focus on responsible gameplay and innovation.”

seize opportunities in the rapidly growing global online real money gaming segment

Croker added that the transaction will enable the business to seize opportunities in the rapidly growing global online real money gaming segment, “particularly in North America.”

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the Aristocrat transaction was part of a “takeover frenzy with deals” that boosted the Aussie stock market. The ABC said Australia’s All Ordinaries Index “rose one-fifth of a per cent to 7,690.” Shares in Playtech, meanwhile, rose as much as 57% on October 18 to 675p (US$9.28).

Over the past few years, Aristocrat has been building scale into its digital operations, becoming a global leader in the social casino, casual games, and role-playing game (RPG) markets. In an online interview with Fantini Research last year, Croker spoke of his firm’s ambitions for the sports wagering market, saying: “We have the balance sheet, and we also have the intent […] to either build or buy.”

Monday’s takeover is, however, the biggest statement of intent to date of Aristocrat’s major ambitions in the sports betting and online gaming market.

Making headlines in the US

Following Monday’s deal, Aristocrat said it expected Snaitech — Playtech’s Italy-based omni-channel gambling operator — to open up new markets in Europe while its US business continues to thrive.

Aristocrat has been making headlines over the past year in the US, both with Aristocrat Gaming and its Las Vegas-based subsidiary Aristocrat Technologies.

In May 2021, Aristocrat Gaming inked a deal with Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) to supply historical racing machines (HRMs) to CDI facilities in Kentucky.

While HRMs look and operate like slot machines, how they determine the results of spins is entirely different. Instead of using an algorithm to randomize the spin result, a historical horse race is, instead, anonymized. HRMs are also pari-mutuel, with wagers pooled together and divided among the winners.

Last year, the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium named Aristocrat Technologies an official partner. The deal gave Aristocrat signage rights to the Raiders’ “Death Star” stadium in Vegas, and built in the possibility of creating Raider-branded Aristocrat slot machines in the future.





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