Aristocrat ups Social portfolio acquiring $990 million Big Fish Games from Churchill Downs

Trevor Croker

Australia ASX100 gambling technology supplier Aristocrat Gaming has strengthened its position within the social gaming sector, acquiring Seattle-based Big Fish Games from US racing operator Churchill Downs for a reported $990 million (£735 million) cash transaction.

The acquisition sees Aristocrat expand its Social Gaming portfolio, having acquired Israeli games studio Plarium Gold last August for $500 million.

Updating investors, Trevor Croker, Group CEO of Aristocrat commented on the acquisition “Big Fish’s digital-first social casino content and industry-leading meta-game capability and applications are highly complementary to Aristocrat’s existing and industry-leading land-based digital content business”.

In order to complete the transaction, Aristocrat governance has entered a new ‘incremental $890 million’ loan facility. Aristocrat governance states that it expects its acquisition on Big Fish to be earnings effective by its first year of ownership.

“The acquisition of Big Fish will also materially expand our social gaming footprint, positioning Aristocrat to further capitalise on growth in mobile gaming following the acquisition of Plarium. Big Fish’s strength in casual and card games is highly complementary to Plarium’s strategy games portfolio.” Croker further details

A leading social and mobile games provider, Big Fish changes ownership hands,  having been acquired by Churchill Downs in 2014 for $850 million. Top Big Fish social gaming titles include Big Fish Casino, Gummy Drop and Fairway Solitaire.

Seeking to acquire Big Fish outright, Aristocrat governance details that the company will become the second biggest social games operator, combining Big Fish and Plarium assets.

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