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WMS to be acquired by Scientific Games
Thursday, January 31, 2013 : SCIENTIFIC GAMES TO ACQUIRE ONLINE AND LAND GAMBLING SUPPLIER
WMS, parent of Williams Interactive and Jackpot Party online casino will go for around $1.42 billion
Surprise of the week is the news from Associated Press that Chicago-based online and land gambling supply group WMS Industries is to be acquired for around $1.42 billion by Scientific Games.
SciGames rationale for the deal is that it wants to expand its product offerings by ownership of elements in the WMS group, which includes successful online gambling enterprises like Williams Interactive and the UK-based Jackpot Party online casino.
Instant-win lottery ticket company Scientific Games says it will pay $26 per share for WMS - a 59 percent premium to the company's Wednesday closing price of $16.37. The move boosted WMS stock by 57 percent in premarket trading.
The companies put the deal's total value at approximately $1.5 billion, including $85 million in debt.
WMS stock jumped more than 57 percent in premarket trading.
The combined iLottery/iGaming platform and content will significantly expand the scope of the combined companies' interactive products.
WMS has a well-developed iGaming platform, including social and mobile gaming, while Scientific Games has an advanced platform for iLottery, sports book and loyalty/rewards. Scientific Games expects significant opportunities to cross-sell these products to the companies' respective customers.
"The acquisition of WMS is transformational for Scientific Games, enabling us to offer a complete portfolio of lottery and gaming products and services to both new and existing customers around the world," said A. Lorne Weil, Scientific Games' chairman and chief executive officer.
"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."
Brian R. Gamache, WMS chairman and chief executive officer said: "We view this transaction as the next logical and strategic step in offering continued innovation in gaming. Shareholders will enjoy a meaningful premium for their shares and employees will have expanded career opportunities as part of a larger, broader and more diverse organization. We look forward to working with our new colleagues at Scientific Games."
Both companies' boards unanimously approved the deal. The acquisition is expected to close by year's end.
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