Exclusive Interview: NYX CEO Matt Davey

By Doug Peck
Matt Davey, CEO at NYX, offers Gambling Insider an exclusive insight into the company’s acquisition by Scientific Games

What attracted you to the deal?

When I think about the company and the assets we have, we’ve taken this company on a more than 15-year journey under my management. Over that time we’ve taken a view to build out what I consider a world-leading gaming provider that has both platform and content products across casino, lottery, bingo and poker, and a really strong focus on the regulated market. When discussions kicked in it was clear that we shared the same vision, in that digital gaming will play a huge part in the future of the industry and it’s an area that they thought they were a little underinvested in. We were initially talking about a commercial deal, which obviously led on to a bigger discussion around the entire transaction, but it’s clear they completed the pieces that we were missing and they also gave us the scale and critical mass that we were looking for. So I took comfort from the fact that their vision joined up with the way I see the future developing. It was clear that the assets they had neatly complemented the assets that we have, such as their penetration in the lotteries market, the fact that they’re regulated in over 200 jurisdictions around the world, the back offices that they have around casinos etc, the retail position they have - all those components we didn’t have, they are effectively able to accelerate. Finally it was their commitment to investing in the business itself and really drive forward the product and tech initiatives that we have, there was a big commitment behind that. If I look out to the future of NYX on a standalone basis, they have effectively brought 2020 into 2018.

Do you think your sportsbook capability was particularly attractive for them?

I think the sportsbook was highly attractive, as was our open and broad distribution network on the gaming side, and our focus on being a highly regulated provider within the industry. In terms of the developing sports betting situation in the US it could be very, very smart timing for them!

I understand you will be heading up a new digital division at SG?

That’s the plan, no discussions have occurred in detail at this point though. My focus as CEO and director on the board was in establishing the price and making certain that all our shareholders achieved share value in the transaction. Since signing there’s a period between now and close which will be three to four months, and in that time we’ll have discussions around the long-term management structure, but they were very clear that what we have built at NYX is the market leading position that they intend to enhance and support, so the current proposal is it will be our combined management teams that will be leading the business going forward.

What will happen to the NYX brand?

Within the NYX family, clearly Openbet and Nextgen Gaming and a few of our other brands are very strong on a standalone basis. No decision has been made, and they acknowledge that NYX is very well-known especially within the European iGaming market and there’s value in that. No decisions though at this point, my guess is that everything is on the table and we’ll make the smartest decision going forward.

How have your current customers reacted?

I think there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response which I was a little surprised by, given the amount of contingent distractions that tend to happen with any type of acquisition, but it’s been very positive. I think it underlines the strategic value of what we’re creating here, because a number of our customers are Scientific Games customers that buy various content, systems and technology from them. They can see the benefit of being able to bring those two together so there’s been a really supportive response from the industry so far.

I’m very keen to preserve the culture that we’ve developed in the business and I think we can appreciate there’s a different culture between land based operations and the digital world.

In business we operate a very open approach to providing our customers with as much choice as we can, there’s a firm commitment behind all of that and an appreciation that online is different to land-based world. That’s one of the concerns that our customers might have – would we be a US-centric thinking business? That’s not going to happen, we’re going to continue to drive with divisional leadership that we have, mainly through our London office.

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