Aristocrat To Acquire Playtech For $2.9B, Forming A B2B Gaming Powerhouse

Two major B2B casino game manufacturers are set to link up. Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure will pay $2.9 billion to acquire Playtech. Aristocrat is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of physical slot machines after IGT, and has been ramping up its digital offerings in the last few years. It’s also the owner of Big Fish Games, a developer and distributor of video games aimed at a casual audience.

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said in the Oct. 17 announcement about the cash acquisition of his company:

“This transaction marks an exciting opportunity in the next stage of growth for Playtech, and delivers significant benefits to our stakeholders, including our customers, our shareholders and our incredibly talented people. This deal has the potential to enhance our distribution, our capacity to build new and deeper relationships with partners, and bolsters our technological capabilities. 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.”

Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croker said:

“The proposed combination would bring together Aristocrat’s world-class gaming content, customer and regulatory relationships with Playtech’s industry-leading global online RMG 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 partners with Kindred, others

On Sept. 30, Playtech announced a multi-state agreement with Unibet Interactive, a part of Kindred Group. The agreement starts with Playtech providing its software to power Unibet’s online casino in New Jersey. After the Garden State, Playtech will add its software in more states to the Unibet Casino “in the coming months.”

Other US online casinos are familiar with Playtech, too. Playtech’s software debuted in US online gamblers’ hands via Bet365 in New Jersey in August 2020. Then BetMGM and Parx Interactive also partnered with the game creator.

Parx is among Playtech’s more interesting US partnerships, as it involves a pending live dealer studio in Michigan.

Playtech’s platforms do power Parx Interactive‘s products and Parx powers Play Gun Lake. That’s the Michigan online casino and sportsbook of the Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians.

However with Parx, Playtech is preparing to open a live dealer studio in Southfield. What’s notable about that is it’s the first time a provider will be busting up Evolution Gaming‘s monopoly on that product.

Playtech Live Casino will be Evolution’s neighbor in the city 20 minutes northwest of Detroit, but the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) hasn’t yet approved live dealer for Play Gun Lake.

Playtech said in its March 2021 press release about the studio that it planned to eventually offer its software and services in every US state.

Investor response

Playtech stock rose sharply at the news. On Oct. 13, it was $5.65 and on the next trading day, Oct. 18, it was worth $9.51.

While it appears as though the same happened for Aristocrat – it traded at $33.67 on Oct. 12 and $35.40 on Oct. 18 – Reuters reported on Oct. 18 that trading of that stock is halted until Oct. 21.

- Heather Fletcher is the lead writer with OnlinePokerReport. She's a career journalist, with bylines in The New York Times, Adweek and other publications. Reach her at [email protected]
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