Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In our latest edition we take a look back at M&A action featuring Crown Playtech, Tombola and Microgaming; a Dutch regulatory investigation, and a Wynn Resorts termination.
Blackstone Group revived its interest in embattled Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, returning with an offer of A$12.50 per share which values the company at A8.5bn ($6.2bn).
This proposal followed a pair of prior overtures made by the US investment management firm, and affiliates, earlier in the year, which valued the group at A$12.35 per share after an initial A$11.85 offer was deemed an undervaluation and “not in the best interests” of shareholders.
Crown stated that it has “not yet formed a view on the merits of the proposal,” adding that it will now assess the submission, with regards to the value, terms, and other considerations; as well as engaging relevant stakeholders, including regulatory authorities.
“Crown shareholders do not need to take any action in relation to the proposal at this stage. There is no certainty that the proposal will result in a transaction,” the company stated.
The Dutch regulator said that it is closely examining the operations of 25 unlicensed, and as yet unnamed, gambling websites in a bid to ensure that they are not engaging consumers within the country.
The Kansspelautoriteit did warn, however, that “if it is possible to participate in a game of chance on those websites from the Netherlands, sanctions will follow”.
Furthermore, it added that enforcement action could also be taken against “promoters of these games of chance,” with the Ksa citing payment service providers and advertisers.
This came after the gaming authority detailed a new approach to illegal online operators earlier in the year, which came into effect upon the long-awaited opening of the country’s legalised online gambling market, which took place at midnight (Friday 1 October).
Playtech confirmed that it has received a preliminary approach from a third suitor that is looking to acquire the gambling tech firm, with JKO Play, led by former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan and Keith O’Loughlin, ex-Scientific Games, evaluating a competing offer.
The consortium is working with US private investment firm Centerbridge Partners regarding the provision of institutional debt and structured capital funding, with media reports suggesting that a £3bn counterbid could be in the offing.
The company is said to be “seeking access to certain due diligence information in order to explore terms on which an offer for Playtech by JKO might be made”.
Playtech noted that “discussions with JKO are at an early stage and there is no certainty that JKO’s approach will result in a firm offer for Playtech, nor as to the terms on which any firm offer may be made”.
This follows Gopher Investments making a similar preliminary approach to the group earlier in the month, after Playtech had previously confirmed that a £2.7bn takeover bid had been received from Australian-listed gaming manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure.
Flutter Entertainment acquired Tombola adding the UK’s “most recreational” online bingo operator to its brands.
As part of the acquisition, Flutter will pay £402m in cash upon completion for 100 per cent of the business. The transaction is conditional on merger control clearance by the UK Competition and Markets Authority and is expected to be completed in Q1 2022.
Flutter Entertainment believes that the addition of Tombola to its portfolio will deliver several “key strategic advantages” such as diversification of its products.
The operator group highlighted that Tombola will also create a more engaged and sustainable player base while also enhancing Flutter’s safer gambling strategy.
Wynn Resorts and Austerlitz Acquisition Corporation disclosed a mutually agreed termination of a previously announced interactive business combination.
This sees the agreement between the operator’s online gaming division and newly incorporated blank check company, which was initially detailed in May 2021, brought to an end effective immediately.
It was previously detailed that the combined company would retain the ‘Wynn Interactive, Ltd.’ name and relist its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol ‘WBET’.
The combination was said to include approximately $640m of cash proceeds from Austerlitz to fund operations and support new and existing growth initiatives, with an enterprise valued at approximately $3.2bn at closing, representing 4.5x Wynn Interactive’s projected 2023 revenue, to be created.
A “changing of the guard” was announced by Microgaming, with John Coleman to step down from the CEO position on December 31, 2021, with Andrew Clucas, current COO of the group, to take the reins.
Furthermore, the group also agreed the divestment of its Quickfire distribution business and portfolio of online games to Games Global, a private capital backed firm that was established in early 2021.
Billed as a “landmark sale” by Microgaming, the deal will see Games Global acquire the international distribution rights to Microgaming’s exclusive gaming content, including progressive jackpot titles, as well as its extensive customer base of more than 900 global gaming brands.
The acquisitions, which are subject to Games Global receiving certain regulatory approvals, are expected to be finalised during Q2 2022.
Lady Luck Games looks set to acquire London-based studio Revolver Gaming as the Stockholm-founded company signed an exclusive letter of intent.
Under the terms of the acquisition, agreed by both parties, the purchase price will consist of a combination of cash, totalling €750,000, and approximately 4.2 million newly issued shares in Lady Lucky Games through a set-off issue made at a stock price of SEK 3.00.
The company’s total number of outstanding shares, as of today, amounts to 44,905,472 with the dilution through the offset issue amounting to approximately 8.5 per cent.
Research conducted by the Washington State University found that sports betting at the region’s tribal casinos is on track to become a $94m industry in the next five years.
WSU, which this week presented its findings to the Washington State Gaming Commission, says that it’s $94m projection is a reflection of residents’ enthusiasm for professional and collegiate sports and their interest in wagering. It is also estimated that sports wagering at tribal casinos will lead to an estimated 273 direct jobs.
Should online sports betting from remote locations become legal in Washington in the future, the industry would more than triple in size, generating around $322m in annual revenue, the study said.
Approximately 59 per cent of those surveyed described themselves as sports fans, with five per cent saying that they placed wagers on games at least once per month. Almost 14 per cent said they were likely to participate in Washington’s emerging sports betting industry.