Three years ago, Churchill Downs acquired a mobile gaming company called Big Fish. Today the company announced that it had flipped the asset for a cool $990 million to Aristocrat Technologies which is based out of Australia.
“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,” noted CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen. “We thank our team members at Big Fish for their outstanding efforts over the three years since CDI acquired Big Fish.”
Big Fish was originally acquired for a deal estimated to be worth $885 million. So the sale might seem like a massive deal considering the current evaluation, but it’s more important that CDI spend more time where it make money. Still, a $105 million profit is nothing to shake a stick at.
By shedding the responsibility of overseeing a gaming company, Churchill Downs Incorporated will be able to focus its assets on more Thoroughbred-related activities. “We will refocus our strategy on our core assets and capabilities, including growing the Kentucky Derby, expanding the casino segment, TwinSpires.com and other forms of real-money gaming, and maximizing our Thoroughbred racing operations,” continued Castanjen.
With major handle and mainstream appeal growing with the marquee races of the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup, it’s a big move for Churchill Downs Interactive to make in order to consolidate their efforts on the bones of their actual business. Big Fish was certainly a great income generator over the years as it offered a variety of mobile apps and games, as well as some desktop offerings, but it never melded seamlessly with the core values of CDI in general.
The Raine Group is overseeing the transaction on behalf of CDI, while Sidney Austin LLP is offering legal counsel on the deal. It is reported to be an all-cash transaction.