Scientific Games clears William Hill hurdle in pursuit of NYX Gaming

Cornelia Mascio
Dicembre 7, 2017

Last November, William Hill governance stated to investors that it would move to convert "preference options" in NYX, which the United Kingdom bookmaker had gained for co-funding NYX Gaming's £300 million acquisition of OpenBet technologies (transaction was undertaken in 2016).

William Hill has reached a deal to support Scientific Games' proposed acquisition of NYX Gaming Group.

William Hill, which had raised objections to the buyout and threatened to block it with its 32% stake in the company, will now support Scientific Games' bid.

William Hill, The Home of Betting, is one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies, employing around 16,000 people.

Legal action relating to Scientific Games Corp's attempted takeover of NYX has now ceased. Those acquisitions gave SciGames itself a almost 40% interest in NYX, and effectively neutered the William Hill threat.

It is not readily apparent that William Hill was able to extract any premium in exchange for dropping its opposition.

The deal means Scientific Games, which is listed in NY, will buy William Hill's ordinary and convertible shares in NYX, netting the bookie an estimated £96.5m.

William Hill's Chief Executive, Philip Bowcock, commented: "These agreements safeguard William Hill's technology roadmap and relationship with NYX and end all legal action between the parties". The decision also received the full support of United States billionaire Ron Perelman and as it was confirmed, it will mean that Scientific Games will purchase William Hill's ordinary shares in NYX.

The commercial relations of William Hill with Scientific Games are expected to also bring benefits to the UK-listed bookmaker since the US Supreme Court is expected to announce its final decision on PASPA.

That PASPA reference is key. It offers sports betting products online, by telephone and via mobile devices. Among them is a cutting-edge sports-betting platform, OpenBet, which is likely to draw plenty of operator interest as a software solution if the US's almost nationwide ban on sports betting is struck down. The case was called in by the Supreme Court and heard on December 4 following attempts by New Jersey to regulate sports betting which commenced in 2014. Whether it's 2018 or a couple more years down the road, the company's products are ideally situated to take advantage of a newly expanding market.

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