Scientific Games Soars After Dropping SciPlay Takeover


Shares of Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS) are soaring Thursday after the company said it’s abandoning its effort to acquire social casino developer SciPlay Corp. (NASDAQ:SCPL).

Scientific Games
Scientific Games
Scientific Games head quarters in Las Vegas. The company is dropping its bid to acquire SciPlay. (Image: Jeff Scheid/Nevada Independent)

In July, Scientific Games offered an 11 percent premium to acquire the 19 percent of SciPlay it doesn’t already own as part of the suitor’s effort to bolster its digital gaming footprint. Under the terms of that proposal, SciPlay investors would have received 0.25 Scientific Games shares for each of their shares.

SciPlay’s board later formed a committee to evaluate the offer, but the suitor said late Wednesday it’s walking away from the deal.

In line with our approach to capital management and disciplined M&A we have decided that continuing to pursue this opportunity would not be prudent for our shareholders at this time,” said Scientific Games CEO and President Barry Cottle.

The Las Vegas-based slot machine manufacturer will retain its 81 percent stake in SciPlay.

Diverging Stock Reactions

Investors are applauding the decision by Scientific Games. In midday trading, the stock is up 11.1 percent on volume that’s already more than double the daily average. Conversely, SciPlay stock is tanking and probing its lowest levels in a year. It’s off 15.3 percent on turnover that’s more than nine times the usual daily rate.

Formerly the social gaming division of Scientific Games, SciPlay was spun off from that company in 2019. SciPlay’s well-known offerings are Jackpot Party, Quick Hit Slots, Gold Fish Casino Slots, Hot Shot Casino, 88 Fortunes, Bingo Showdown, and Monopoly Slots. The games are free to play but feature in-app purchases.

Cottle sounded an optimistic tone on the ongoing relationship between his company and the former takeover target.

“SciPlay remains a strategic asset and has the opportunity to drive meaningful value as it grows its social casino market share and expands into the $20 billion casual genre leveraging its expertise in engagement and monetization,” he said in the statement.

What’s Next for Scientific Games, SciPlay

The call by Scientific Games to walk away from the SciPlay acquisition could be viewed as yet another sign of the company’s new found financial prudence.

To that end, the company is generating proceeds of more than $7.2 billion by selling its OpenBet sports betting business and its SG Lottery unit. Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EDR), the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), said in late September it’s acquiring OpenBet for $1.2 billion in cash and stock. In October, Brookfield Business Partners LP (NYSE:BBU) announced it’s purchasing SG Lottery for up to $6.05 billion.

As for SciPlay, it’s not clear if another suitor will emerge. Scientific Games previously said it will not approve another takeover offer for the company and that talk could keep would-be bidders at bay.

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