On Monday, NYX announced it had agreed to pay the full £270m in cash to OpenBet’s owners, hedge funders Vitruvian Partners LLP. NYX said it would partially fund the deal via an £80m contribution from UK betting operator William Hill and a further £20m from Sky Betting & Gaming (SB&G).
Hills will also take an additional £10m stake in NYX and has inked a 10-year deal with NYX to further develop Hills’ sports betting, gaming and retail platforms, including the launch of a brand new platform sometime in the next three years.
Hills’ investment will give it a 19% stake in NYX while SB&G will control 5%. Both companies are existing OpenBet clients but neither firm will be granted seats on its board of directors or have access to info on other OpenBet clients, moves that NYX CEO Matt Davey said were key to maintaining OpenBet’s independence.
Hills’ involvement in NYX’s pursuit of OpenBet was first revealed in February, but SB&G’s involvement will spur rumors that Hills may be looking at a larger opportunity to join the merger & acquisition party that has seen many of Hills’ UK rivals join forces over the past year.
The deal allows NYX, which previously offered casino and poker products, to provide a complete online gambling package to current and future clients. Davey said the “natural union” of his firm with OpenBet as born out of “synergies in product, the customer base and, importantly, culture.”
NYX also announced it was selling the European-facing portion of its Ongame poker business to “a partner with proven experience in the industry,” which will assume all costs, consumer contracts and further technology development. However, NYX says it has retained “a significant share of the new business” as well as exclusive rights to use the Ongame product in North America.
While some UK betting operators may be troubled by the thought of their sports betting tech at least partially under the control of rival William Hill, the acquisition got public support from Paddy Power Betfair, another OpenBet client. Paddy Power Betfair spokesman James Midmer said his firm was “confident that the combined group will continue to deliver a great product and service.”