Aristocrat completes 41.3 billion takeover of Big Fish Gaming

News on 10 Jan 2018

Australian gambling supplier Aristocrat has announced the completion of its $1.3 billion takeover of social casino games developer Big Fish Gaming, with CEO Trevor Croker commenting:

“The strategic and financial benefits of this acquisition are highly compelling. 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.

“Big Fish will immediately provide scale across our entire digital platform, and our social casino business will become the second largest social casino publisher globally,”

The ASX-listed Aristocrat on Wednesday announced it had acquired Seattle’s Big Fish Games, the creator of several popular mobile and desktop games played by more than 12.4 million active users every month.

Aristocrat has significantly increased focus on the online social gaming market in recent years. In August, it announced the purchase of Israeli gaming company Plarium, which makes the popular Vikings: War of Clans game, for $635 million (see previous report).

Big Fish has about 700 employees and five in-house development studios in Seattle and Oakland in the US.

This week’s Big Fish Games acquisition has reportedly doubled the size of Aristocrat’s digital division, accounting for 38 percent of its revenue. It also makes Aristocrat the world’s second-largest provider of “social casino” games, which include free-to-play online poker, slots, table games and bingo, on desktop and mobile devices.

Israeli-founded but now Chinese-owned Playtika is widely considered to be the biggest provider of social casino games.

Macquarie Research said although Big Fish had delivered just 2 percent revenue growth in a segment growing by more than 15 percent a year, the deal could pay off for Aristocrat over time.

“Unlike other recent acquisitions, Big Fish will require greater focus on optimisation but in time should provide a solid growth platform,” Macquarie analysts said.

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