Around 24 hours after Red Tiger CEO Gavin Hamilton was sitting in an office in Stockholm, putting the final touches to the deal that would see Scandinavian gaming giant NetEnt buy the developer for upwards of £200m, the chief executive was speaking to CasinoBeats about the move.
“It’s true, we signed and completed on the same day,” says Hamilton, reflecting on the speed of a deal that took the sector by surprise. “It all moved very quickly. Initial contact took place in May and we first met in June.
“From the outset, NetEnt was extremely professional and the interest in Red Tiger was driven from a product perspective. From our side, we thought about the next stage in our growth, such as moving into the regulated US market [where NetEnt is already well established].
“The speed with which it all moved after we reached agreement was lightning fast. NetEnt have been a pleasure to deal with, they delivered on everything they said they would.”
On the face of it, there are many ways in which the two businesses complement one another. In the simplest of terms, NetEnt offers global reach with leading positions in regulated markets worldwide; while Red Tiger brings to the table an agile and exciting product proposition, not least their daily jackpot functionality – just as NetEnt has dramatically increased its content output.
“At the end of the day, if we combine the two skillsets there’s just so much more we can do together,” continues Hamilton. “I really believe that.
“NetEnt’s global footprint is very appealing to us in terms of taking the next step“
“At Red Tiger, we have done well in the past in maximising our own network. Our jackpot liquidity, excellent as it has been, is nonetheless limited to some extent by the distribution. So NetEnt’s global footprint is very appealing to us in terms of taking the next step.”
The management team at NetEnt has seen wholesale changes in recent years. What impact did that have on the deal? “NetEnt has a strong vision for where the company needs to go and it is very clear to see where Red Tiger fits into that vision.
“That’s why Red Tiger was on their radar and that is why it works,” he says. “From my perspective, what they laid out to us, addresses exactly the challenges that we see within this environment.”
With the ink barely dry on the deal, where do you even begin to work together? “We are at the early stages in how we best get our platforms to work together, of course,” says Hamilton, “but the low-hanging fruit is so obvious.
“The Red Tiger proposition has changed now and that changes the conversation we have with operators. You wouldn’t want to be a small content studio in this market.”
Red Tiger has been acquired for a substantial sum just 1,000 days (or so) since its first deal, back in October, 2016. It’s a rapid rise. “This remains a growth business with strong tech underpinning it,” says Hamilton. “The deal is not based on [delivering] cost synergies. The growth is the most important thing, on both sides.”
Hamilton says the management structure at Red Tiger will remain in place and the business will continue to function with a high degree of autonomy, although both parties are already busy exploring the many opportunities in front of them, “the art of the possible,” as Hamilton calls it.
“The next 90 days are key in terms of shaping the future,” he continues. “This is a huge opportunity for us and I think we can do a lot of great things, together and individually. We’re just getting going.”