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April 12, 2021

Evolution Gaming to acquire Big time Gaming

Today, we’d like to share with you a game-changing – pun intended – news for the gambling world: Evolution Gaming Group AB (publ) will acquire the entire issued share capital of Big Time Gaming Pty Ltd, for a total consideration of up to €450 million.

The companies, which represent two of the biggest providers in the gambling world, will therefore unite their efforts in the future, which obviously means that we can expect great things to come up in the following years.

But let’s take a step back: what do Evolution Gaming and Big Time Gaming do, and who’s behind them?

The whos and whats of Evolution Gaming

Evolution Gaming (also known as Evolution) is a software provider that has earned the status of “world leader” in the live gambling industry.

The provider has mainly focused on live casino games, both for land and online operators. It is a truly pioneering company that creates systems through which players can experience excellent gaming sessions.

The company has its main offices in Latvia and Malta, but also has studios in the USA, Georgia, Canada, Romania, Lithuania, Belarus, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Furthermore, in 2020 it acquired a giant of the caliber of NetEnt!

Even in the face of all the changes and improvements it has faced over the years, Evolution’s real heart remains its team of developers, whose creations can be found in some of the most important casinos in the gaming world.

Among the games they have developed, we’d like to mention Lightning Roulette, Dream Catcher, Monopoly Live, and Lightning Dice.

Big Time Gaming: Everything there is to know

Big Time Gaming is a software provider specializing in the development of slot machines. Its best and most successful product to date is the Megaways ™ series of slots. These Video Slots work with an innovative engine that allows up to 117,649 ways to win and therefore represent a real revolution in the world of slot machines.

BTG is one of the most innovative gaming software providers at the moment. The company has had tremendous success with its Megaways ™ series, but has also produced many other equally famous video Slots that don’t work with the Megaways engine.

The Australian company based in Sydney was founded by three professionals from the gambling community: Nick Robinson, Huw McIntosh, and Ian Schmidt.

Nick Robinson, CEO of the company, has more than 20 years of experience in the online gaming industry, Huw Mcintosh is THE CTO and brings with him ten years of experience at both New Tech Media and Openbet. Finally, Ian Schmidt has worked extensively on Rock Star games and is now creative director of BTG: it is thanks to his exceptional work that Big Time Gaming games have such captivating looks and sound effects.

The company has a long history of success, has developed excellent roulette, blackjack table games and video slots. Their best product, so far (and what they have become famous for) is the Megaways ™ series.

Among their most famous slots, we’d like to mention: Book of Gods, Danger High Voltage, Donuts, Lil’ Devil, and Slot Vegas Megaquads.  

How will this go down, and what does it mean for both companies?

Let’s get back to the core of our topic and see what will happen and how.

Indeed, there isn’t a better way to put it than how the chairman of Evolution himself has done:

With the addition of Big Time Gaming to our portfolio of slot brands, we strengthen our strategic position as the leading provider of digital casino games in the world. Big Time’s focus on innovation and creating unique playing experiences is a great fit with our culture and mindset at Evolution. We look forward to continuing our journey together.” – Jens von Bahr, chairman, Evolution

To which, we’d like to add the words of Nik Robinson, CEO of BTG:

Evolution and Big Time Gaming are both driven by innovation, hence the perfect match. A bright and entertaining future awaits for our players.” – Nik Robinson, CEO, Big Time Gaming

Great news, therefore, for those of you who enjoy either companies’ efforts, as we can expect more breathtaking results from such an acquisition.

Technicalities of the agreement

Evolution’s total up-front consideration payable in the transaction will be 200 million euros, which will be partially – 80 million euros - payable as cash. The rest of the amount will be paid out in Evolution shares, valued at a price equivalent to the volume-weighted average price of the Evolution share on Nasdaq Stockholm within March 23rd and April 7th. The expected shares to be issued are 1.120.000.

Both the cash payment and the issuing of shares will happen only at the completion of the transaction.

Furthermore, Evolution will pay earn-out payments, based on Big Time Gaming’s EBITDA for 2022/23 and 2023/24, up to 230 million euros, which will be paid respectively in 2023 and 2024. 70% of it will be paid out in cash, and 30% in newly issued Evolution shares, which will be priced equivalent to the volume-weighted average price of the Evolution share on Nasdaq Stockholm at the time of issue of the earn-out.

The transaction is expected to be completed after receipt of regulatory approvals and should happen in the second quarter of 2021.

Finally, Wiggin has been appointed by Evolution as their lead advisor, and the company will also receive support on the transaction from Addisons, Deloitte, EY, and Gernandt & Danielsson. Big Time Gaming has instead appointed Oakvale Capital LLP, Teacher Stern and BDO as its leading advisors.

Would you like to know more?

If you’d like to learn more about this transaction, you can contact Jacob Kaplan, CFQ, at ir@evolution.com.

Furthermore, the CEO Martin Carlesund presented the acquisition publicly today, April 12th, at 2:00 p.m. CET, via a telephone conference. If you’d like to listen to the conference, you can do so online following this link.

Furthermore, during the conference, the CEO Martin Carlesund highlighted the fact that there will be a FAQ session on April 27th, during which many more questions of the public will be answered.

What happened during the conference?

During the conference, Martin Carlesund went through the main points of the announcement and then answered some previously gathered questions.

Among the conference highlights, Martin Carlesund said, “BTG is in a very interesting phase, and they have proven themselves by creating groundbreaking, innovative and competitive games. We are looking forward to supporting them, scaling them up, and introducing Big Time Games to a wider audience.”

The CEO did not detail the earn-outs and give any top line for costs, but he mentioned that BTG has an excellent growth today, in the 30-40% range, and he expects this to continue.

When asked what advantage BTG brings to Evolution that NetEnt didn’t bring, the CEO mentioned that as Red Tiger and Netnet, Big Time Gaming produces high-quality games. The main difference resides probably in the Megaways technology, which is used by other operators as well.

Another interesting point of the interview regarded the question “Will Evolution continue to license Megaways to other providers?” to which Evolution’s CEO answered that yes, that is their current plan.

Finally, as mentioned by the company’s CEO, Evolution also intends to acquire other companies; however, organic growth is Evolution’s primary focus. “We need to be better every single day. Creating the best games is our focus in every part of the business. That being said, we look carefully for the right pieces that we need to move closer for our ambition to become the number 1 in online casinos”.

AboutSlots’ take on the deal

As fans of both companies, we can’t be anything but happy about the two providers’ joint efforts, which will surely develop into profound innovations in the gambling world. Considering that Evolution had also acquired NetEnt in 2020, we look forward to seeing what these two significant additions to the company will mean for its production and expect great things from the developer.