Australian Slot Machine Maker buys Big Fish Games

Slots maker Aristocrat dives deep into pockets for acquisition of social gaming platform developer Big Fish Games.

Slots Maker Aristocrat buys Social Gaming platform Big Fish GamesDo you like money? I like money. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the most important thing in life, but having more of it sure is nice. Apparently the big wigs over at Australian slot machine maker, Aristocrat Leisure, think more money is nice, too. That’s why the company spent nearly a billion dollars to land one of the biggest fish in the social gaming sea.

Last week, Aristocrat announced the it had completed the acquisition of Big Fish Games. The news came as a bit of a shock to industry analysts, who had no idea such a deal was even in the works.

In recent years, social and real money gambling platforms have been trading hands like hot potatoes. The Stars Group (then Amaya Gaming) bought PokerStars parent, Rational Group, for $4.9 billion in 2014. GVC Holdings snagged Bwin.party for $1.7 billion in 2015. These and many more exchanges made headlines from start to finish. It’s not certain why this latest deal was kept on the down low, but the details are on the table now.

Slots Maker Acquires Big Fish Games for $990M

The Australia-based games manufacturer shelled out a whopping $990 million for the social gaming development firm. According to market analysts, they’ll have no trouble making that money back either.

Adam Krejcik is a distinguished researcher with the firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. He published a report yesterday with his expert analysis of the acquisition. By his standards, Aristocrat snagged one heck of a good deal.

According to the report, Aristocrat’s digital gaming products (without Big Fish) raked in an estimated $292 million in revenue in the 12 month period ending Sept. 30, 2017. That’s an impressive 41% increase from the same period last year. In the last quarter alone, the company’s social gaming revenue rose 63% to an estimated $93 million.

“The surprise announcement to acquire Big Fish for nearly $1 billion combined with its recent acquisition of Plarium for $500 million will transform Aristocrat’s digital business into a business that should generate in excess of $1.1 billion in revenues and $250 million in [EBITDA, or profit before taxes etc.] next year,” wrote Krejcik.

“Following the acquisition of Big Fish, we expect Aristocrat will be the No. 2 social casino publisher worldwide. Additionally, Big Fish (along with Plarium) will help expand the company’s addressable market opportunities as it relates to social games.”

Slots Maker Diving Deep Into Social Gaming

Established in 1953, Aristocrat Leisure has grown into one of the world’s largest slot machine makers, both on land and online. It currently employs a staff of 5,000, holds licences in 240 jurisdictions, and supplies its products to operators in over 90 countries.

For more than half a century, Aristocrat’s focus was on the land-based slot machine industry. In 2014, the company tripled its presence in North America with the $1.3 billion acquisition of Video Game Technology, which provides the majority of slot machines to the continent’s tribal casinos.

The company’s focus began shifting to the digital market in recent years. Aristocrat supplies many of its games to the online casino industry, and delved into the mobile gambling business earlier this year with the acquisition of Israeli-based firm Plarium for $500 million.

Analysts estimate that, following the addition of Big Fish Games, Aristocrat will jump up the ladder to become the second largest social gaming provider in the business, behind Playtika.

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