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Scientific Games Agrees to Buy WMS Industries for $1.5 Billion

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Both companies have applied ofr interactive gaming licenses in Nevada. WMS has an agreement with 888 and many land-based casinos.

Scientific Games Corporation (SGC) announced Thursday that it has agreed to acquire the Illinois-based slot manufacturer, WMS Industries, for approximately $1.5bn.

Scientific Games, a global gaming solutions provider specializing in lottery systems and services, sees the acquisition of the much larger WMS as an opportunity to “offer a complete portfolio of lottery and gaming
products and services to both new and existing customers around the world.”

While SGC and WMS have their main strengths in lottery, gaming machines and interactive gaming content, the joint company will be capable of taking a substantive role in a revived US online poker market. Their combined experience and relationships make an increased presence in the online poker world, at least in the US, inevitable.

SGC has a three year deal in place with social gaming giant Zynga and WMS already has a strategic partnership with 888 to offer US land-based casino operators a “world-class online poker solution.”

888 is positioned to make a big splash in the US as it also has a longstanding partnership with Caesars Entertainment to provide infrastructure and promotion for the WSOP brand. That relationship has been blessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission. WMS has also been awarded an operator’s license in the state and SG Gaming, a division of Scientific Games, is awaiting approval of its application..

A. Lorne Weil, SGC’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, indicated the merged company’s wider ambitions: “We expect to combine our game content, technology, operational capabilities and respective geographic footprints to create an enterprise poised to capitalize on significant growth opportunities around the globe.”

The deal is still subject to a vote by WMS shareholders, but SGC has informed the SEC that it has fully committed financing in place. NASDAQ-quoted SGC is substantially smaller than NYSE-listed WMS, and has had to obtain external financing to make the $1.42bn offer for the larger company.

The market has reacted positively to the news with SGC’s share price up over 17% on the day, giving it a market valuation of almost $900m.

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