Kentucky Derby operator Churchill Downs sells Big Fish Games for $990M

Business News

Churchill Downs Incorporated, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its mobile gaming subsidiary, Big Fish Games, Inc, to Aristocrat Technologies, an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Aristocrat Leisure Limited, an Australian corporation, in an all-cash deal for US$990 million.

“Big Fish is a very successful business with a bright future that will be best realized by being part of Aristocrat’s strategy and vision for their online and mobile gaming portfolio.

We thank our team members at Big Fish for their outstanding efforts over the three years since CDI acquired Big Fish”, said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI.  “We will refocus our strategy on our core assets and capabilities including growing the Kentucky Derby, expanding the casino segment, and other forms of real money gaming, and maximizing our thoroughbred racing operations.”

The sale has been approved by the Board of Directors of CDI and is subject to customary regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, and is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of 2018.

Proceeds from the transaction will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include investments to support organic growth and acquisitions, debt reduction and share repurchases.  The CDI Board of Directors has approved up to $500 million of share repurchases from the proceeds of the Big Fish sale.

The Raine Group is acting as financial advisor to CDI, and Sidley Austin LLP is providing legal counsel.