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Light & Wonder negotiates the selling of OpenBet for $800 Million

The agreement between Light & Wonder and Endeavor Group regarding the earlier disclosed acquisition of the OpenBet sports betting company is being changed. This is the final step toward refining its portfolio and becoming the top global game publisher across all platforms. As opposed to the initial purchase price of $1.2B, it now says Light & Wonder will take $800M.

“Endeavor is the right partner for OpenBet and the amended agreement increases speed and certainty by creating a simplified path to closing the transaction, while unlocking substantial benefits for OpenBet and Light & Wonder,” said Barry Cottle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Light & Wonder. “OpenBet demonstrates continued momentum across their key markets and the amended terms of the transaction provide strong value for the business.”

The initial agreement was made when Light & Wonder, said it was selling OpenBet for $1.2 billion in cash and stock last September.

Endeavor had originally agreed to pay $1B in cash and $200M in stock. Light & Wonder will get $700 million in after-tax revenues based on the $800 million transaction price. The deal is anticipated to be completed in the third quarter.

“This transaction is the final step in our journey to streamline our organization as we deliver on our promises as the leading cross-platform global game company. The cumulative proceeds from our divestitures, as well as our double digit growth profile and $1.4 billion 2025 Targeted Consolidated AEBITDA(1) resulting in strong cash flow generation, is expected to create tremendous value for our shareholders. Our enhanced financial flexibility will enable us to accelerate the return of significant capital to shareholders through our share repurchase program, while also investing in key growth initiatives.” Barry added.

LIGHT & WONDER DECIDES DEBT STRATEGY

In an effort to lower its debt, Light & Wonder agreed to transfer OpenBet and then its lottery division. The corporation continues to be on pace to reduce its liabilities even if it is negotiating a lower price for the sports wagering business. L & W previously claimed that their total debt had decreased from $8.8 billion to $4 billion.

L & W’s net debt leverage ratio ratio dropped from 6.2x to 3.7x as a consequence of the reducing debt, putting it on track to attain its planned net debt leverage ratio level of 2.5x to 3.5x. It is strengthening its cash flow at the ideal time, as interest rates are increasing and inflation is skyrocketing.

“The significant cash consideration from the OpenBet sale will enable us to further de-lever our balance sheet and achieve our Targeted Net Debt Leverage Ratio(1) range of 2.5x to 3.5x.” says Barry.

ENDEAVOR AND OPENBET

Endeavor intends to combine OpenBet with IMG Arena, its current sports betting division, to deliver data and live broadcasts for sports matches worldwide. IMG Arena collaborates with tons of sports wagering companies. According to Endeavor’s CFO, Jason Lublin’s statement in September, OpenBet and IMG Arena will merge to create a new, fourth reporting structure for Endeavor, with a starting annual revenue of $340 million.

Experts estimate that the merged company, which includes OpenBet’s trading platform and betting system, would be better equipped to contend with Sportradar and Genius Sports, two industry heavyweights in the sports betting industry.

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