Aristocrat Targeting North American iGaming with $4.6B Acquisition of Playtech

Online gambling company Playtech has agreed to a £2.7 billion ($4.6 billion, US$3.7 billion) takeover by Australian gaming and slots manufacturer Aristocrat, reports BNN Bloomberg and others.

Aristocrat says the acquisition, which the companies expect to be completed in the second quarter of 2022 subject to shareholder approval, will help to increase its scale in the online sports betting market in North America and provide growth channels for its casino business.

Aristocrat also hopes to benefit from Playtech’s presence in North America and Europe, which it expanded via the 2018 takeover of Italy-based Snaitech and a series of launches in U.S. states in recent years.  The Isle of Man-based Playtech has furthered its growth in North America as U.S. states including New Jersey have relaxed rules allowing online gambling and sports betting to take place, and it recently entered into a multi-state agreement with Unibet Interactive, a part of Kindred Group.

The proposed acquisition has been given unanimous backing by the Playtech board which recommends that shareholders vote in favor of the deal, reports SBC Americas.

According to the Financial Times, the offer values the company at 680 pence a share, a 58 per cent premium to Friday’s closing price. Playtech’s shares rose 57 per cent on October 18 to 675p after the announcement.

Aristocrat CEO and managing director Trevor Croker said: “The proposed combination would bring together Aristocrat’s world-class gaming content and customer and regulatory relationships with Playtech’s industry leading global online RMG (real money gaming) platform (B2B) and European B2C footprint.

“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. Additionally, the business will be ideally positioned to unlock sustainable shareholder value by seizing opportunities in the fast-growing global online RMG segment as they continue to open up, particularly in North America.”

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer believes that the acquisition marks an exciting opportunity in the next stage of growth for the firm that delivers significant benefits to stakeholders, customers, and shareholders.

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

Todd Eilers at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming noted that the deal with fill “an obvious void” for Aristocrat by getting them into the onlien gaming space. “The acquisition of Playtech gets them into this market in a sizable way,” Eilers said, via iGB North America. “The biggest opportunity will be to introduce Aristocrat’s award winning land-based slot content across the Playtech network as well as launching iGaming operations and content in the U.S. market.”

Aristocrat currently holds approximately 40 per cent of the U.S./Canada land-based B2B market share, added Eilers, and they should be expected to gain significant share of the U.S./Canada iGaming market in the years following this acquisition.

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