Scientific Games reviews ASX options to trim debt 

Scientific Games Corporation (SGC) is reportedly reviewing strategic options to list its business on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). 

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has reported that SGC has recruited Sydney-based investment bank Jarden Australia to draft the company’s pathway towards listing on the ASX.

An ASX-listing is detailed as one option to address SGC’s long-term debt reduction, which currently registers at $9.5 billion – more than $4 billion over the firm’s market capitalisation of $5.40 billion.

SGC’s corporate debt ballooned to $8.5 billion in 2014 following the firm’s leveraged acquisition of casino slot and games manufacturer Bally Technologies for $5.1 billion.   

The company’s debt-load further increased in 2018, as SGC undertook back-to-back acquisitions of OpenBet, NYX Gaming and Don Best to launch its SG Digital division.  

Prior to the circumstances of the global Covid pandemic, SGC CEO Barry Cottle had outlined debt reduction as a key priority of the company.

However, SGC drew on a further $500 million credit facility to navigate 2020 trading as the pandemic disrupted its commercial performance.

During 2020, long-term investor Ron Perelman exited the company by selling his 39% shareholding to Australian PE fund Caledonia Investments for $1 billion – as the US magnet chose to reduce his exposure in high-risk investments.

Following Perelman’s exit, boardroom changes saw SGC appoint former Aristocrat Chief Executive Jamie Odell as new company chairman.

Though news reports cited SGC’s ‘strong Australian links’, the reports failed to mention whether SGC would pursue an outright or dual listing on the ASX, as the technology group has registered as a US Nasdaq enterprise since the 1980s.

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