Austrian casino manufacturer Novomatic has taken a controlling interest in Australian slot machine developer Ainsworth Game Technology, acquiring a 52 percent stake in the company.

Ainsworth Novomatic acquisition

Len Ainsworth has stepped down as the executive director of Ainsworth Game Technology following its acquisition by Novomatic. (Image: Dominic Lorrimer)

The takeover comes following a Friday announcement by the two firms that they had received all of the necessary regulatory approvals to complete the acquisition.

The relatively complex deal was first announced nearly two years ago, when Len Ainsworth, founder of Ainsworth Game Technology (AGT), agreed to sell 172.1 million shares to Novomatic for approximately AUD 473.3 million ($371 million).

Deal Required Several International Approvals

However, that deal was subject to regulatory scrutiny in a variety of jurisdictions. That included various regulatory boards in Australia, the United States, and South America.

“The approval involved intense scrutiny from multiple gaming boards,” Novomatic said in a press release last month. “Novomatic is now one of the few internationally active companies to have passed strict compliance checks from these international authorities.”

The company made particular note of its regulatory approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Those approvals made Novomatic the first Austrian company ever to gain regulatory approval in Las Vegas.

With the sale now completed, Len Ainsworth has resigned as the executive director of AGT. However, the company founder has agreed to stay on to help the company as a consultant for an additional year. He will also retain ownership of 1.87 percent of the company.

Novomatic Hoping to Improve American Presence

According to AGT Chairman Graeme Campbell, the acquisition by Novomatic is a “historic and important day” for the company.

“We have a new, international, industry leading majority partner in Novomatic,” Campbell said in a statement. “As shareholders recognised in voting in favour of the transaction, this partnership strengthens Ainsworth Game, providing us with the resources and support to leverage our highly regarded gaming technology and expertise to more effectively compete in the world’s gaming markets.”

Meanwhile, Novomatic Chief Technology Officer Thomas Graf said that his company hoped AGT could help them make gains in international markets – particularly in the United States. AGT just opened a new Las Vegas headquarters in 2016.

“We are attracted to Ainsworth Game because of its superior gaming technology, clear industry expertise and impressive international footprint, especially in the U.S. market,” Graf said.

The potential to improve their standing in the United States appeared to be a major reason for Novomatic’s interest in AGT. In a press release issued last month, the acquisition was described as being “strategically very important,” and the company said it hoped to increase its US market share to about 10 percent over the next five years.

Novomatic is already a company with plenty of international presence. The company employs 25,000 workers, and has installed 260,000 machines at 2,100 venues in 45 different countries. The firm also provides sports betting systems and lottery terminals.