Rival gaming device makers Bally Technologies and International Game Technology (IGT) have announced an end to their long-running patent lawsuit, which dates all the way back to 2006. IGT had filed the original suit, which claimed Bally’s Power Bonusing system infringed on IGT’s ACSC Power Winners technology. As part of the settlement and license agreement, Bally will obtain a patent license for IGT’s bonusing portfolio and dismiss its counterclaims with prejudice. All further details of the deal have been deemed confidential, so we’ll wildly speculate that, in future, whenever Bally staffers encounter their IGT counterparts at trade shows, the Bally guys have to get on all fours and bark like dogs.
In other Bally news, the company released its fiscal Q1 report card, revealing a 21% increase in revenue to $235.2m for the three months ending Sept. 30. Revenue from equipment sales rose 28% to $82.7m, aided by the shipment of 670 units to the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, initial shipments into the Illinois video gaming terminal market and higher domestic replacement sales. Gaming operations revenue was up 19% to $101.2m thanks mainly to 94% growth in the installed base of wide-area progressive machines, while systems revenue rose 13% to $51.3m. Operating income leaped 43% to $53.6m, a new Q1 record for the company.
On a post-earnings conference call with analysts, Bally president/COO Ramesh Srinivasan revealed the company’s Bally Mobile platform was now being enjoyed by 6m users via the 12 major operators utilizing the system, including its most recent signing, the Game Account Network. Srinivasan said Bally had now created Flash, HTML5 native iOS and Android versions of an initial library of some of Bally’s best game titles for online distribution.
This is the fifth consecutive quarter in which Bally’s earnings per share have grown year-on-year, prompting Bally to raise their earnings guidance for the fiscal year from $3.05 to $3.35 per fully diluted share. With their future so bright they gotta wear shades, Bally has decided to authorize a new $150m share repurchase program. Bally CFO Neil Davidson said the program “reflects our continued confidence in Bally’s long-term growth plan and ability to consistently generate free cash flow.” Not to mention the fact Bally is riding a streak of 20-consecutive months in which it has repurchased stock and apparently these hungry hungry hippos won’t be satisfied until they’ve acquired it all and returned to being a private operator.