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Reaction: Hydra's Inspired acquisition will make sense

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ysts have had their say on Thursday’s announcement that Hydra Industries Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, is to purchase a 65% stake in Inspired Gaming Group for £200m.

Private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, which bought Inspired for £74.4m in 2010, will continue to hold a 35% share in the business.

This comes after Vitruvian sold OpenBet to NYX Gaming Group for £270m in May and the Inspired deal is expected to complete in October.

Hydra CEO Lorne Weil, a former chairman and CEO of Scientific Games, will be executive chairman of Inspired after the deal has been finalised, while Inspired founder Luke Alvarez will continue as CEO.

I am surprised it has taken this long for someone to buy Inspired as they are a perfect fit for any of the big gaming machine dinosaurs lumbering around the savannahSteve Donoughue


To expand on what the deal means, Gambling Insider asked for the views of two industry experts.

John DeCree, Equity Research Analyst, Union Gaming:

“This is an exciting transaction for both Inspired and Hydra. Hydra has been a blank check company since 2014, looking for the right acquisition. Hydra is looking to develop a scalable business and Inspired meets that criterion.

“I think Mr. Weil and his team’s experience at Scientific Games will prove to be a key catalyst for scaling Inspired into a global business. Just last week, Inspired announced the first ever installation of land-based virtual sports terminals in the US at two Las Vegas casinos. With access to the capital markets and a proven global management team at Hydra, the combined company has a lot of potential ahead.”

Steve Donoughue, Gambling Consultant:

“I am surprised it has taken this long for someone to buy Inspired as they are a perfect fit for any of the big gaming machine dinosaurs lumbering around the savannah. Obviously, they are best known in the UK for their FOBTs, which I reckon are not going anywhere soon with the new Tory government preoccupied with the disaster that is Brexit. They have modern slot and virtual betting products around the world and look set for continuing growth.

“Having said all of that, I make my standard qualification in that it’s cultural fit that dictates an acquisition’s success above just buying assets and only those involved can really answer that. As this trend of consolidation continues, I await with glee the phase afterwards, when all the good stuff has been bought, which is diversification. This is when those promoted beyond their ability in the handful of mega-corps left operating in the gambling industry indulge their boyhood fantasies. Bring on the acquisition of sports teams and random stuff in Vegas.”
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