Merger season: Live Casino specialist Evolution Gaming confirms buy-out offer for slots developer NetEnt

Author Thomas Wolf
June 25, 2020 3 min read

Live casino market-leader Evolution Gaming announced its offer to buy up a majority stake in slots giant NetEnt in a deal that could be worth upwards of 19 billion SEK ($2.5 billion).

It has been reported that the board encouraged shareholders at NetEnt to accept the deal. NetEnt will have two months to prepare for and accept the offer—starting in August 2020 and ending in October. When it’s over, Evolution should own over 90% of shares in NetEnt.

Last month saw the massive gambling merger between the Stars Group and Flutter Entertainment finally come to completion. The companies were two of the largest online casino operators in the business and are now even bigger together.

This new deal between two of the most respected online game developers has the potential to be just as impactful on the iGaming landscape going forward.

Evolution Gaming is, without a doubt, the leading live casino supplier. The company offers the highest quality products and innovates more than anyone else when it comes to new titles. It has created award-winning collaborations with pop-culture brands Monopoly and Deal or No Deal and was the first live casino supplier to provide custom branded tables to individual casinos.

A similar but not quite as watertight case can be made for Swedish developer NetEnt as the top online slot provider in the world. Although competitors Microgaming and PlayTech are quite close behind it, NetEnt produces a fair few of the most popular slot titles online.

Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Dead or Alive, and the Hall of Gods jackpot slot are all hugely popular slot games from NetEnt. Starburst, in particular, is one of the most widely played online casino games in the world.

Cross-Selling Possibilities

This deal could also see the arrival of a whole host of new games for online casino fans.

“The combination of Evolution’s strong offering in live casino with NetEnt’s leading position in online slots will result in a world-class portfolio of online games that will enable us to serve a growing customer base,”

Evolution chairman Jens von Bar

One can easily imagine live casino games based on NetEnt’s popular slot brands—and vice versa. The two companies’ most-played titles could be ripe for crossover potential.

Both developers have also put a focus on the slowly opening US markets in recent years. States such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania have seen massive growth in their online casino sectors, and Evolution has been steadily signing new deals with North American casinos.

“With this deal, there are unique possibilities to shape a leading global B2B provider of online casino, taking advantage of the market development with continued digitalization and strong growth, especially in North America,”

NetEnt chairman Mathias Hedlund

This increased revenue potential must be seen as a near sure thing by Evolution, whose offer for NetEnt is 43% above the most current market share price for NetEnt. The Swedish developer has publicly traded shares on the Stockholm Nasdaq for over a decade now.

Evolution’s offer equates to a valuation of SEK 79.3 ($8.51) per share. That values the entire deal, for the 90% of the stock, at just over SEK 19 billion ($2.13 billion).

NetEnt’s board of directors is said to be feeling good about the deal, and it will be recommending shareholders take up Evolution on their offer.The board praised the “landmark” deal as “positive and strategically sound” in a statement released earlier today, June 24th, 2020.

Author Thomas Wolf


Thomas Wolf

409 articles

Thomas Wolf is our editor in chief. With an extensive background in online gambling (both working for casino operators and game studios) as well as an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, he's a proper authority on online casinos. When not running the day to day operations or reviewing new operators Thomas is a blackjack aficionado with some seriously big wins recorded at land-based casinos in both Las Vegas, Monaco and Macau.
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