What has happened to Big Fish Games?

Answered by Tom Adger

Big Fish Games, a popular mobile gaming company, has gone through a significant series of events in recent years. In 2014, Churchill Downs, the operator of the renowned Kentucky Derby racetrack, acquired Big Fish Games for a hefty sum of $885 million. This acquisition was a strategic move by Churchill Downs to diversify its business portfolio and tap into the booming mobile gaming industry.

At the time of the acquisition, Big Fish Games had established itself as a leading developer and publisher of casual games for mobile devices and personal computers. The company was known for its immersive and addictive gameplay, offering a wide range of titles to cater to different demographics.

However, the ownership of Big Fish Games underwent another major shift in 2018 when Churchill Downs decided to sell the company to Aristocrat, a global gaming giant, for nearly $1 billion. This sale marked a substantial financial gain for Churchill Downs, as they were able to secure a profit of around $115 million in just four years.

The decision to sell Big Fish Games can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, Aristocrat’s extensive experience and expertise in the gaming industry made them an ideal candidate to further propel the growth of Big Fish Games. They have a strong presence in both land-based and online casinos, and the acquisition of Big Fish Games allowed Aristocrat to expand its reach into the mobile gaming market.

Additionally, Churchill Downs’ decision to divest from Big Fish Games might have been influenced by the changing landscape of the gaming industry. The competition in the mobile gaming market had intensified, with companies like Supercell, King, and Zynga dominating the space. This might have prompted Churchill Downs to cash in on their investment and focus on their core business of horse racing and entertainment.

As part of the acquisition deal, Churchill Downs agreed to pay $124 million of the settlement, while Aristocrat would shoulder the remaining $31 million. This financial arrangement signifies the value and potential that Aristocrat saw in Big Fish Games, as they were willing to invest a considerable sum to acquire the company.

The acquisition of Big Fish Games by Aristocrat opens up new opportunities for both companies. Big Fish Games can leverage Aristocrat’s resources, including their strong distribution channels and expertise in game development, to further enhance their gaming offerings and expand their user base. On the other hand, Aristocrat can tap into Big Fish Games’ extensive library of games and loyal customer base to strengthen their presence in the mobile gaming market.

Big Fish Games has experienced a significant transformation in recent years, from being acquired by Churchill Downs in 2014 to being sold to Aristocrat in 2018. These strategic moves were driven by Churchill Downs’ desire to diversify their business portfolio and capitalize on the mobile gaming industry’s growth. The acquisition by Aristocrat presents new opportunities for Big Fish Games and allows Aristocrat to establish a stronger foothold in the mobile gaming market.