Swedish gaming firm bought by Australian Aristocrat

Australian gaming machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Ltd said on Monday it had acquired Swedish high technology gaming company EssNet Interactive AB for about 50 million US dollars.

The takeover would give Aristocrat exposure to the fast-growing interactive, server-based video lottery market, the company said.

EssNet Interactive develops, manufactures and markets next generation interactive systems and video terminal hardware and software.

Aristocrat said the acquisition, to be completed in May, will allow it to use video lottery technology to accelerate development of in-casino and cross-casino server-based content delivery within traditional markets.

It said the technology is expected to propel growth in world gaming markets over the next 10 years.

Aristocrat chief executive Paul Oneile said the acquisition would provide an opportunity to enter a market segment where the company does not currently compete.

“We anticipate that the demand for this type of product offering will grow significantly in future years in many jurisdictions, especially in Europe and Asia,” Oneile said.

In November 2003 EssNet Interactive was awarded a contract by Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian lottery, for the supply of an interactive video lottery system and around 10,000 terminals.

Aristocrat said it has also entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Australian gaming company Tattersall’s Ltd which will allow it to further develop the Interactive technology.

As part of the deal Tattersall sold its 25.16 percent stake in Interactive to Aristocrat.