Light & Wonder Completes SciPlay Acquisition, Consolidates Holdings

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Slots developer Light & Wonder (L&W) has acquired the remaining 17% of shares in SciPlay Corporation, a social casino gaming operator that it created three years ago.

L&W has taken full ownership of SciPlay, with the latter now operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of L&W.

L&W, previously known as Scientific Games, founded SciPlay as a social gaming spin-off in 2019.

The new acquisition was completed at a price of $22.95 per share in cash, totaling over $420 million. This price was slightly higher than the $20 per share estimated when the deal was announced in August 2022.

As a result of this acquisition, SciPlay’s common stock will no longer be publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

“Fully integrating SciPlay with Light & Wonder creates a more streamlined organization, with the financial strength to accelerate our cross-platform strategy and deliver enhanced shareholder returns,” said Matt Wilson, president and CEO of Light & Wonder.

The Business Implications

This acquisition is a significant step for L&W, as it continues to transform into a U.S. online casino and slots-oriented business.

The move follows a transformative 18 months for the company, which included a rebrand from Scientific Games and the sale of its lottery and OpenBet sportsbook platform businesses for around $6.3 billion.

The acquisition of SciPlay is expected to enhance L&W’s cross-platform strategy, provide flexibility for the use of SciPlay’s cash flows for investments, and facilitate long-term margin enhancement opportunities via synergies.

“As one company, we will drive improved collaboration between our talented teams to build and deploy the most engaging games across our digital and land-based platforms and create a more seamless, best-in-class player experience,” Wilson said.

Light & Wonder Consolidates and Expands

Both L&W and SciPlay have posted strong figures in both Q1 and Q2 of 2023. SciPlay’s revenue reached $190 million in the three months to June 30, 2023, which was an 18.8% year-on-year increase. This growth was attributed to the core social casino business, which delivered strong player metrics and outpaced the market.

Despite some of the controversy and lawsuits around so-called social gaming in 2023, including a huge $419 million settlement for International Game Technology, the sector is still growing.

“SciPlay continues to achieve record-setting results and market outperformance and we are confident that together we will build on their considerable momentum,” said Wilson.

L&W’s total group revenue for the three months was $731 million, up 19.8% year-on-year.

Growing Portfolio

The operator continues to expand on its range of physical and online slots, announcing several major releases in 2023 so far.

Earlier in September, Light & Wonder debuted its collaboration with streaming giant Netflix, a Squid Game slot machine, at the G2E Global Gaming Expo.

Squid Game is a surprise smash hit South Korean series that is Netflix’s most-watched show of all-time. The $400,000 jackpot slot game from L&W will feature many of the popular but deadly games and characters from the show.

L&W also announced earlier this year that it had signed an expanded licensing deal with Warner Bros Discovery Global Themed Entertainment to create slots based on the $30 billion media empires globally popular franchises and brands.

For now, that will see Willy Wonka and Wizard of Oz slots in 2024. However, Warner Bros also owns Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth setting, Harry Potter’s Wizarding World setting, the DC Universe, and Scooby- Doo.

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