Shareholders at Sports Media business Endeavour, the owners of London’s IMG Arena, will no doubt be delighted at the news that their company has managed to complete the acquisition of Light & Wonder’s OpenBet sports betting service for $400m less than the price first agreed.
Instead of the $1.2 billion that Endeavour was set to pay to close the deal in Q2, Light and Wonder revealed that they had agreed to cut the price by a third in order to facilitate a more expedient completion of the sale.
Under the revised terms, Endeavour will pay $750m in cash in order to secure OpenBet and will hand over 2.3 million Class A shares, which will be initially valued at $50m.
The deal comes just a short time after Light & Wonder, who were formerly known as Scientific Games, had also divested itself of its own lottery arm of its portfolio, by selling the Scientific Games lottery to Brookfield Business Partners, a private equity group.
This latest sale comes hot on the heels of former Light & Wonder Chief Executive Barry Cottle leaving his role, with Matt Wilson stepping in to fill the void as a temporary replacement until a full-time Chief Executive can be found to replace Mr Cottle.
Right Partner For OpenBet
Speaking about the deal, Mr Wilson revealed that the speedy sale of OpenBet will facilitate his company being able to continue their streamlining strategy, with the aim to solely focus on developing games across multiple platforms.
“With the completion of the OpenBet divestitute and our now streamlined organisation, Light & Wonder is well positioned to execute on our growth strategy with a singular focus on building great games fully cross-platform.”
“With our R&D engine and world-class talent at our core, we have an unparalleled ability to leverage our leading industry positions, evergreen franchises and unmatched platforms to drive sustainable differentiation and significant value.”
“I want to thank our teams for their hard work and dedication to ensure a quick and successful completion of this important transaction. Endeavour is the right partner for OpenBet and we wish our OpenBet colleagues all the best on this exciting new chapter.”
Ramifications For Esports?
The move could have ramifications for the esports industry too. A number of the sites owned and powered by OpenBet include many sites that while not bespoke esports betting sites, certainly offer esports bets alongside their more traditional sports betting services.
However, the impact on esports, in terms of a new owner for OpenBet, should be relatively small with Endeavour expected to look to a process of an evolution of OpenBet’s betting engine rather than a revolution of sweeping change.
So the good news for customers of OpenBet-serviced sites like FanDuel, SkyBet, William Hill and more is that they can expect the same great market options, same appealing free bet bonuses and the same user-friendly interface that has become a hallmark of the OpenBet sites.
CEO of Endeavor Ariel Emanuel said that by combining its “IMG Arena sports data and content business,” along with OpenBet, the company will strive to “create and unlock meaningful value for our rights holder and sportsbook customers, helping deliver the most compelling offerings for sports fans globally.”
That will, of course include esports.
Furthermore, by streamlining its focus solely to gaming Light & Wonder will perhaps be able to focus back on the skills and industry in which they first grew their reputation; gaming and esports.