Aristocrat To Purchase Big Fish For $990m

Tia Winter | 04 December 2017

Australian gaming giant Aristocrat is as well known for its comprehensive selection of online pokies as it is for its range of land-based pokies and casino gaming machines. Now, however, the firm is set to take yet another step into the world of mobile casino gaming by inking an agreement with popular social gaming company Big Fish Games.

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The deal between the two gaming experts is set to be processed for a consideration of $990 million, and will be subject to customary completion adjustments. The cash deal will see Big Fish operating as a standalone firm alongside Aristocrat’s own Product Madness and Plarium divisions – the latter of which was purchased recently by Aristocrat in a $500 million deal.

Aristocrat is reportedly expecting the new acquisition to go through in Q1 next year, while the game development and leadership teams of Big Fish have already entered into retention and non-competing agreements with the Aussie developer.

Deal To Be Funded By Cash Capital

Big Fish, which is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Churchill Downs Inc., is an international publishing expert of free to play social casino games within the social gaming and premium cash games markets. Based in Seattle, USA, the firm has around 700 staff that are responsible for the mobile casino app Big Fish Casino, along with games like Fairway Solitaire and Gummy Drop.

Aristocrat has agreed to fund the purchase using existing cash capital, along with a seven year incremental Term Loan B debt facility of $890 million. CEO and Managing Director of Aristocrat, Trevor Croker, has commented on the deal, noting that the acquisition will provide scale across the developer’s entire online gaming platform following its recent acquisition of Plarium.

This, Croker noted, will expand Aristocrat’s digital operations into the rapidly growing social gaming industry. The CEO also revealed that his firm’s digital revenues more than doubled thanks to the acquisition of Plarium, jumping from AU$651 million to AU$1.3 billion for the year ended September 30.

Big Fish Purchase To Fuel Growth

Furthermore, Aristocrat’s social casino operations are set to become the second-largest in terms of social casino publishing worldwide, according to the executive, while its acquisition of Big Fish will allow the firm to further capitalise on mobile growth following its Plarium purchase.

Croker remains positive that through constant optimisation of Big Fish’s existing apps and its exciting schedule of new social casino releases, the transaction will allow his company to capitalise on positive growth that is currently fuelling the social gaming space.

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