Scientific Games buying up NYX shares to thwart William Hill vote

TAGs: nyx gaming group, openbet, Scientific Games, William Hill

scientific-games-nyx-share-purchase-william-hillGaming technology firm Scientific Games Corporation is giving the middle finger to UK bookmaker William Hill’s efforts to complicate Sci-Games’ planned acquisition of NYX Gaming Group.

On Tuesday, Sci-Games announced that it had acquired 10.7% of the Toronto-listed NYX’s outstanding ordinary shares. Sci-Games, which previously held no stake in rival NYX, paid over C$27m (US $21.2m) for the shares.

In September, Sci-Games announced its intention to acquire NYX for C$775m, a move intended to boost Sci-Games’ ability to take advantage of US efforts to legalize sports betting. NYX owns OpenBet, a leading provider of sportsbook technology to gaming firms, including William Hill.

But Hills helped NYX pay for its 2016 OpenBet acquisition, making Hills a significant NYX shareholder with nearly 32% of outstanding shares, and Hills announced earlier this month that it might block the Sci-Games deal unless it received certain assurances regarding the continuity of its OpenBet arrangement.

That prompted NYX to file an anti-trust suit against Hills in a New Jersey court, which was followed last week by a similar suit brought by Sci-Games in Nevada, in which Sci-Games accused Hills of “anti-competitive, extortionate and coercive” tactics that were the “business equivalent of a shakedown.”

NYX shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposed Sci-Games acquisition on December 20 and Sci-Games’ decision to gobble up NYX shares is a clear bid to obtain majority control ahead of that vote.

Sci-Games and NYX announced Tuesday that they’d amended their September agreement to stipulate that, should the December 20 vote not go their way, Sci-Games will make a contractual takeover offer to NYX shareholders for the same share price stipulated in their September acquisition deal.

Hills has yet to publicly respond to Sci-Games’ share purchase. Hills has rejected allegations that it is acting in an anti-competitive fashion, claiming that it was only seeking “perfectly reasonable assurances” regarding the fate of its OpenBet relationship while dismissing the lawsuits as the typical sort of “aggressive litigation” that surrounds merger & acquisition activity in the US of A.


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