It’s been a busy few months, as companies from all over the gambling spectrum have teamed up and completely redrawn the map of the industry. While I wrote at length about how there were a number of exciting new developer-operator partnerships formed recently, but owing to the ever changing face of casino legislation, we’re also seeing many deals between operators, as well as takeovers of operators or developers by bigger companies. There’s an awful lot of talks about an awful lot of relationships at the moment, so I thought I’d try and clear a few things up for you.
Playtech and YoYo Game
Ok, so this is an easy one – Playtech has just bought YoYo Games. While I’m almost 100% certain you’ll have heard of Playtech, as their games and software are all over the place and used at literally hundreds of casinos (of which some are better than others), however YoYo Games it a little more niche, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you’d never heard the name before.
YoYo’s biggest claim to fame isn’t from developing games at all, but rather developing software for casual game developers to develop games. If that’s a few too many develops for you, then you’ll probably be blown away by the number of developers using the software – currently more than 750,000.
The deal will see Playtech forking out £10.65m for the technology company, and the development software will be used together with its Open Platform as part of Playtech’s new plan to get a bigger foothold in the gambling industry.
Amaya and Bwin.Party
Amaya has had a busy year. Having taken over the world’s biggest poker site – PokerStars – and a good handful of operators. It’s known that the company has got its eyes on a number of other possible acquisition, and one of the biggest of these is Bwin.Party; but is the takeover going to go ahead?
It’s been known for some time that Bwin.Party is in less than perfect shape. The UK operator has been hit hard by the new tax regime that it’s been put under, and that’s really affected profits. Basically, it could really do with the money that would come with an Amaya takeover.
But why would Amaya want to buy a failing company? Well, basically, lower profits don’t mean that the company is failing to attract players necessarily – in fact, some Bwin.Party brands are hugely popular – however, the business model as it stands can’t cope with the higher taxes levied against it. Amaya is big enough to swallow the losses, while still benefiting from the vast number of players who know and use the Bwin.Party brand.
Talks between the two have been going since last year, but hit a stumbling block when Bwin.Party execs voted against selling the business piecemeal. This week, news arose that talks were back on the table, suggesting a takeover may be imminent.
OpCapita and Gala Coral
Why his week saw it confirmed that talks between Bwin.Party and Amaya were taking place, it also saw confirmation that talks of a possible sale of Gala Coral to OpCapita. It’s a well-known fact that Gala Coral has put up Gala Retail for (a possible) sale, but the company refutes rumours that have been swirling for a while that OpCapita was set to buy the company.
On a side note, Gala Coral has just sold its property subsidiary Propco Three Ltd. to M&G for £173.4m, but what affect this will have on any readers of Slots4U is yet to be seen.
William Hill and 888 Holdings
You may have read a lot last week about takeover talks between William Hill and 888 Holdings entering their final stage. Well, it seems it’s not to be. While the UK gambling giant William Hill looked set to take over 888 Holdings at any minute, it seems that there was a snag as one of the key shareholders of 888 Holdings decided that the price of £744m offered by William Hill didn’t fairly represent the value of the company. Ironically, the rejection of the offer led to a 16% dip in the price of 888 share, so maybe the evaluation wasn’t so unrealistic.
The failure of the companies to come to an agreement is mainly bad news for poker players at William Hill sites and slots and casino player at 888 sites, as the companies both had expertise in these respective fields that the other would have benefited greatly from. Though there is a chance we haven’t seen the send of this saga.