Light & Wonder (LNW) has completed the acquisition of the remaining 17% it did not already own of social casino developer SciPlay. Under the terms, LNW paid $22.95 per share, meaning the deal is worth around $500 million. The acquisition implies a value of over $2.9 billion for SciPlay, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of LNW and no longer trade on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
SciPlay started as a social gaming subsidiary of LNW but was spun off in 2019, with the former parent company keeping 81% ownership. After a failed first attempt to acquire the remaining shares, LNW increased its stake to 83% in 2021. It also owned 98% of SciPlay’s voting shares. In May, LNW decided to make a second takeover attempt with a $422 million offer, about 28.5% higher than SciPlay’s trading at the time.
There’s a Reason LNW Is Paying Half a Billion
SciPlay’s games are free-to-play and mobile-only. However, unlike many other social casinos, there are no cash prizes. Another key difference is that due to its connection with LNW, the social casino developer can offer free-to-play adaptations of popular real money slots, including:
- 88 Fortunes-branded
- Quick Hit-branded
The games are available through Facebook, which makes registration easy using Facebook credentials. That is paying off, as the Quick Hits Slots Community page on Facebook has over 499,000 likes and 506,000 followers to cite one example. Quick Hit Slots also has a 4.8 rating of over 444,000 reviews on the Apple App Store. Most other SciPlay games have similar ratings.
The popularity of the games has translated into successful financial results. In Q2 2023, SciPlay posted a record $190 million in revenue, up 19% year-over-year. The company had $186 million in revenue in the previous quarter, up 18% year-over-year.
Acquisition Marks Another Step in LNW’s iGaming Plan
The acquisition of SciPlay’s remaining shares is the latest move by LNW to establish itself as a leader in iGaming in the US. Earlier this month, the company announced that its live dealer game subsidiary, Authentic Gaming, is finally making its US debut. LNW acquired Authentic in 2021 and announced plans to expand to the US. Authentic Gaming got its first US license in Michigan on Oct. 5 and went live via deals with Golden Nugget Michigan and BetRivers Michigan.
Michigan seems to be a strategic market for LNW. Just days before Authentic Gaming’s launch, another subsidiary, Playzido, entered the US in Michigan. Playzido is a content creation platform that will allow many new European studios to gain access to the US market. Playzido also develops games, including many Deal or No Deal-branded titles.
In a move not involving subsidiaries, the company announced an extension to its partnership with Warner Bros in July. The new deal will allow LNW to bring digital adaptations of retail slots featuring Warner’s intellectual property. The first title will be Willy Wonka: World of Wonka. Other popular retail games like Wizard of Oz slots will make their way to online casinos at a later date.