Global gaming content and technology company and mobile games publisher, Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) has announced that former Chief Executive Officer of its brick-and-mortar gaming unit, Mitchell Bowen, will lead its newly launched online real money gaming (RMG) focused business segment. And former president of the Americas division of Aristocrat, Hector Fernandez, will head up Aristocrat Gaming, the group’s land-based gaming segment.
Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Trevor Croker revealed details of the plan on Thursday at the company’s Annual General Meeting. The announcement comes on the heels of its unsuccessful AUD3.9-billion (US$2.8 billion) takeover offer for Isle of Man-headquartered gambling software development company Playtech plc (PTEC.L).
According to Inside Asia Gaming, the new online RMG segment will join the corporate structure of Aristocrat brands, which includes Aristocrat Gaming and Pixel United, formerly Aristocrat Digital, with the rebranded mobile game division the umbrella for the group’s Big Fish Games, Plarium and Product Madness social gaming brands.
In spite of the rebuffed Playtech takeover attempt, Coker reportedly said that the Australian gambling machine manufacturer has over the past year been “investing in building online real-money gaming capabilities in-house,” and in taking advantage of these foundations will now accelerate a “build and buy” approach.
“This will see us invest strongly in building out our own online RMG platform infrastructure while also undertaking select M&A, partnerships and talent acquisitions to accelerate progress wherever appropriate.
“To bring the right level of focus and momentum to the task, we are establishing a third global operating business within Aristocrat.
“Achieving a scaled position in online RMG will be a medium-term effort. It will take sustained investment over a number of years. However, our record shows that Aristocrat knows how to successfully scale businesses.
“We will apply a similar mix of effective organic and inorganic investment, and financial and operational rigour to this task, under Mitchell’s leadership and aligned to shareholders’ interests.”
Regarding the Bowen appointment to the new segment, the Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director reportedly said he had already “cemented his reputation as an industry executive of global standing. His strategic and operational impact is evident in the outstanding momentum of the Gaming business and its recovery post COVID, with excellent staff engagement and an unwavering customer focus.
“Mitchell will be supported by a dedicated leadership team that will include a number of key internal and external appointments, to rapidly bolster our capabilities in relevant areas,” Croker said.
Also included in the annual general meeting, Neil Chatfield, chairman of the board of Aristocrat Leisure, reportedly told shareholders that while the group’s failed $2.8 billion cash offer to takeover Playtech had been a “disappointing outcome,” its merger and acquisition strategy would remain “disciplined.”
“While we will be ambitious and flexible in pursuing opportunities, we will never compromise on this core commitment just to get a deal done or for short-term expedience,” stated Chatfield.