Light & Wonder has made its desire to obtain full ownership of SciPlay public, with a valuation of $20 per share seeing the group look to acquire the remaining 17 per cent interest in an all-cash $422m transaction.

Currently, the group owns approximately 83 per cent of the economic and 98 per cent of the voting interest in SciPlay, with the proposal representing an enterprise value of $2.1bn and a premium of 28.5 per cent based on the stock price at the close of business on May 17, 2023.

Following the transaction, SciPlay would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Light & Wonder.

In a letter to the SciPlay board of directors, Matthew Wilson, L&W President and CEO, wrote: “The proposed transaction offers SciPlay’s public shareholders a compelling combination of value, speed and certainty. 

“SciPlay’s public shareholders would receive an immediate and certain premium value for their shares in cash, obtaining liquidity and de-risking their investment in a volatile and uncertain market.

“L&W will not conduct due diligence and we do not expect consummation of the transaction to require any regulatory approvals or the approval of L&W shareholders, simplifying and expediting closing the transaction. Further, L&W will not require any third-party financing to fully fund the transaction.

“Through our existing collaboration with SciPlay, we believe the transaction would be operationally seamless, and we look forward to fully joining forces with SciPlay’s talented leadership team and employees to continue innovating on behalf of customers and players.”

The company stressed that potential completion would enable “seamless collaboration” and maintain group momentum, with combined balance sheets to provide “flexibility to invest cash across the enterprise where it will best drive shareholder value”.

In his communication, Wilson acknowledged that the proposal “is an expression of interest only,” and that Light & Wonder is only concerning itself with this sole proposal and not an alternative sale, merger or other corporate transaction

The group is not averse to making manoeuvres within the M&A arena, with previous purchases in recent memory including the likes of slot developer’s Lightning Box, ELK Studios and Playzido, as well as live casino supplier Authentic Gaming and loyalty solutions provider House Advantage.

The business also offloaded its lottery division for $5bn to Brookfield Business Partners, with sports betting services provider OpenBet purchase by Endeavour in an $800m deal.

This becomes the second significant development detailed by the group in quick succession, with approval having been granted by the Australian Securities Exchange for a secondary listing on the ASX.