Bally says $1.3 billion acquisition of SHFL entertainment good for growth

Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies will acquire SHFL entertainment, the Las Vegas company formerly known as Shuffle Master, in a $1.3 billion deal announced today.

It’s the third major gaming industry acquisition of the year and will require regulatory approvals and OKs from SHFL shareholders. The boards of both companies approved the deal, and Bally officials said they hoped the transaction would close by the end of the second quarter in 2014.

“Both Bally and SHFL have long histories of proven innovation, excellent customer service and successfully anticipating and adapting to changes within our industry, which makes bringing our two companies together a great strategic fit,” Ramesh Srinivasan, Bally’s president and CEO, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“The transformational acquisition of SHFL — which joins two high-caliber, talented and creative teams — will further enhance our ability to deliver future growth and serve our customers.”

Bally, formed in 1932 and employing more than 3,000 people, is known primarily as a slot machine and gaming systems manufacturer. Its product line includes reel-spinning and video slot machines, wide-area progressive games and an array of slot accounting and table-management systems.

Founded in Minnesota in 1983, SHFL has expanded into electronic table-game systems after the success of its signature product, the automatic card-shuffling machine. The company also manufactures chip-sorting machines and table game-play tracking systems and developed casino table games that utilize its shuffling machines.

Bally will pay $23.25 a share and acquire the company’s $8 million debt and $41 million in cash in the transaction.

The deal comes on the heels of Pinnacle Entertainment’s $2.8 billion December acquisition of Ameristar Casinos — also two Las Vegas companies — and January’s $1.5 billion buyout of Waukegan, Ill.-based WMS Industries by Scientific Games of New York.