Aristocrat to acquire Big Fish Games for $990m

30 November 2017

Aristocrat Leisure has today (Thursday) entered a binding agreement to acquire social gaming company Big Fish Games for $990m (€833.9m).

Subject to customary completion adjustments, the all-cash deal will see Big Fish operate as a standalone business alongside Aristocrat’s Product Madness and Plarium, the latter of which it recently acquired in a deal worth $500m.

Aristocrat expects the latest transaction to go through in the first quarter of next year, while the Big Fish key game development talent and leadership team have entered into non-compete and retention arrangements with the company.

Big Fish, currently operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Churchill Downs Incorporated, is a global publisher of free-to-play games that operates across the social casino, social gaming and premium paid games markets.

Headquartered in Seattle in the US, Big Fish has approximately 700 full-time staff and is responsible for mobile social casino application ‘Big Fish Casino’, as well as games such as ‘Gummy Drop!’ and ‘Fairway Solitaire’.

Aristocrat plans to fund the acquisition via existing cash and an incremental $890m seven-year Term Loan B debt facility.

Trevor Croker, chief executive and managing director of Aristocrat, said: “The acquisition of Big Fish will immediately provide scale across our entire digital platform, following the recent acquisition of Plarium, which expanded our digital business into the fast growing social gaming market.

“Our digital revenues approximately double from Aus$651m, pro-forma for the acquisition of Plarium, to Aus$1.3bn for the year ended September 30, 2017.

“Our social casino business will become the second largest social casino publisher globally, with revenues increasing from Aus$383m to Aus$641m for the year ended September 30, 2017.

“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.

“Through continued optimisation of Big Fish's existing successful applications, together with Big Fish's attractive pipeline of new titles across both social casino and social gaming, this transaction ideally positions us to capitalise on the positive growth outlook in each of these mark.”

Related article: Aristocrat completes acquisition of Plarium