Yesterday saw American casino operator Churchill Downs Incorporated announce that it had signed an all-cash deal that will see it offload its Big Fish Games Incorporated casual games subsidiary to Aristocrat Technologies Incorporated for $990 million.
Louisville-based Churchill Downs Incorporated owns and operates the Churchill Downs horseracing facility in its home city as well as casinos in Mississippi, Louisiana, Maine and Florida while additionally being responsible for totalisator systems, equipment and technology supplier United Tote and the TwinSpires.com advance deposit wagering service. It purchased Big Fish Games Incorporated in 2014 and helped the company transition from a PC-focused firm to the world’s top-grossing producer of mobile casual games such as its Big Fish Casino title.
Churchill Downs Incorporated stated that the sale of Seattle-headquartered Big Fish Games Incorporated had already been approved by its board of directors and is expected to close during the first three months of next year ‘subject to customary regulatory approvals and other closing conditions’. It declared that the proceeds from the transaction are to be used for ‘general corporate purposes’, which may include ‘investments to support organic growth and acquisitions’, alongside debt reduction and the repurchase of up to $500 million of its own shares.
Bill Carstanjen, Chief Executive Officer for Churchill Downs Incorporated, described Big Fish Games Incorporated as ‘a very successful business with a bright future’ that will be better realized by its sale to Las Vegas-based Aristocrat Technologies Incorporated, which is a subsidiary of Australian gaming machine innovator Aristocrat Leisure Limited.
“We thank our team members at Big Fish [Games Incorporated] for their outstanding efforts over the three years since Churchill Downs Incorporated acquired Big Fish [Games Incorporated],” read a statement from Carstanjen. “We will refocus our strategy on our core assets and capabilities including growing the Kentucky Derby, expanding the casino segment, TwinSpires.com and other forms of real-money gaming and maximizing our thoroughbred racing operations.”