Ainsworth set to sell shares to Novomatic

Sunday, May 1, 2016 09:55

Billionaire Len Ainsworth has announced that he is considering selling his Ainsworth Game Technology shares, totalling approximately 500 million Australian dollars and making up for 53-percent of the company, to Austrian company Novomatic. Len Ainsworth is the founder of Aristocrat, the world’s second-biggest gaming company, and founded another similar company, Ainsworth Game Technology, twenty years ago, at the age of 72.

Ainsworth’s attempt to sell off 53 percent of his shares can only then succeed if 50 percent of minor shareholders agree to the move. It is yet unclear whether Gretel, Len Ainsworth’s wife, who owns ten percent of the company, will be allowed to cast her vote. This decision will be down to a committee, consisting of four independent company directors.

An extraordinary general meeting was planned for 13th May but has now been rescheduled for the first week of June. Novomatic boss Harald Neumann is expected to be present and answer questions shareholders may have in regard to the take-over. Danny Gladstone of Ainsworth Game Technology has already been discussing with Harald Neumann how both, the Australian-side and the Austrian-side of the company, could cooperate if the majority of Ainsworth Game Technology shares changed hands.

Given that this transaction would give Novomatic access to the US market, the Austrian gaming giant is expected to seek a seamless transfer of shares. Ainsworth will soon launch a brick-and-mortar casino in Las Vegas and has already established its online presence in North and South America.

Should shareholders agree to the proposed plans, completion could take up to a year, due to gambling restrictions in the US. The US authorities would have to check and approve the sale.