Completion of SGR Acquisition
RNS Number : 8577T
Sportech PLC
05 October 2010


Sportech PLC

("Sportech" or "the Group")

Completion of the Acquisition of Scientific Games Racing


Board Changes


Capitalised terms in this announcement have the same meaning as in the prospectus dated 27 January 2010.


Acquisition of SGR


Sportech today announces completion of the acquisition of Scientific Games Racing ("SGR") from Scientific Games Corporation (Nasdaq: SGMS) ("SGC"). Following the issue of the Consideration Shares to SGC, the number of shares in issue is now 198,810,302 and SGC have become a commercial partner and 19.9% shareholder in Sportech.


The acquisition of SGR transforms Sportech and creates one of the world's leading pool betting ("tote") operators and systems providers, offering wagering on a variety of sports - notably football and horseracing - primarily in Europe and North America.


The enlarged group will have operational bases in the UK, mainland Europe and the US.  Given the significant regulatory approval process the Group (and certain other key shareholders including Playtech Limited) have undergone in connection with the SGR acquisition, the Board believes Sportech now has a significant advantage in its ability to capitalise on the highly regulated global gaming markets, including key jurisdictions in the US.


Board Changes


To reflect the significant change in the structure and geographic reach of the enlarged Sportech business a number of changes to the Sportech Board are effective from Admission of the Consideration Shares.


·     Ian Hogg is appointed to the Board as Chief Operating Officer of UK and Online with additional responsibilities for the integration of SGR into the Group;


·     Brooks Pierce, is appointed to the Board as President of SGR with continuing responsibility for the performance of the SGR business, and Chief Business Development Officer;


·     Lorne Weil, Chairman of Scientific Games Corporation is appointed as a Non-Executive Director (in his individual capacity and not as a representative of Scientific Games);  and


·     Shmuel Weiss, Chief Operating Officer of Playtech is appointed as a Non-Executive Director (as a representative of Playtech).


In addition, both Kathryn Revitt and Jon Holmes are stepping down from their roles as Non-Executive Directors of the Board with immediate effect. Kathryn has served on the Board since September 2000 and Jon since July 2007. We thank them both for their valuable contributions during their respective tenures.


Suitable candidates for appointments to further strengthen the Non-Executive contingent of the Board following these changes are under active consideration.


Biographies of the Directors joining the Board are set out in more detail below. There are no further details required to be disclosed pursuant to Listing Rule 9.6.13 in connection with the above appointments.



Commenting on the transaction, Ian Penrose, Chief Executive of Sportech, said:

"This is hugely important transaction, which transforms the business of Sportech. Over the past three years Sportech has undergone significant restructuring, culminating in the completion of the SGR acquisition. This acquisition creates a world-leading pools betting company with international reach. As well as significant growth potential in our existing main markets of Europe and North America, the enlarged Sportech will have the scale and capability to compete in the new and emerging regulated global gaming markets."


Piers Pottinger, Chairman of Sportech added:


"The new Board appointments appropriately reflect this advancement in the business. All four new Board members are highly respected individuals within the gaming world and bring with them unrivalled industry knowledge and experience which will be of tremendous value to the Company. We thank Kathryn and Jon who are leaving the Board at this time for their valuable contributions over many years."






Tel: 020 7268 2400

Ian Penrose (Chief Executive)

Steve Cunliffe (Finance Director)


Pelham Bell Pottinger

Tel: 020  7861 3232

David Rydell / Rosanne Perry / Emma Kent


Analyst Presentation


Details on the date and timing of a presentation for analysts by the Sportech management team on the SGR acquisition will be announced in due course.




·     Ian Hogg, 47 is appointed to the Sportech Board as Chief Operating Officer of UK and Online. In this newly created role, Ian will be responsible for the ongoing development of Sportech's market leading football pools business and the successful development of all e-Gaming operations. Ian will also oversee the integration of the SGR business with the existing Sportech business. Ian has been a consultant to Sportech for the last six months. Between 2005 and 2009 Ian was a founding shareholder and Managing Director of Better, the betting shop business which was built up to 44 shops from creation and then merged with the Jennings betting shop chain. Previously Ian has been a consultant to BSkyB and Tote Tasmania.  From 1998-2004 he was the Director of online and gaming at Arena Leisure Plc and in 2003/4, he was seconded as Managing Director of At The Races. Ian is currently also the Chairman of Fox Poker Club.


·     Brooks Pierce, 49, brings more than 19 years of experience in the gaming industry to the enlarged Sportech business, primarily in the areas of pari-mutuel and sports wagering. Brooks will continue as President of SGR, maintaining full responsibility for the performance of SGR and in addition, has become Sportech's Chief Business Development Officer. In 2007 Brooks reprised his role as president of SGR, one that he previously held from 1997 to 2004, to oversee the activities of SGR. From 2004 to 2007, Brooks was senior vice president of marketing for SGC, during which time he was actively involved in the identification and evaluation of target acquisition candidates for the company. Brooks began his career at Autotote, the predecessor company to Scientific Games, in 1991. Prior to becoming president, Brooks was vice president of sales where he was responsible for directing the sales effort of all of North America and was instrumental in significantly increasing the competitive position of Autotote.


·     Lorne Weil, 64, brings more than 20 years of wide-ranging gaming industry experience to the Board and will provide expert insight into the global pari-mutuel and sports wagering and gaming markets. Lorne has been Chairman of the board of Scientific Games Corporation since October 1991 and served as Chief Executive Officer from April 1992 through to December 2008. Lorne also served as president of Scientific Games from August 1997 to June 2005. During Lorne's tenure, Scientific Games' revenues grew from US$43 Million in 1992 to over US$1 billion in 2007. Previously, Lorne was vice president, corporate development at General Instrument Corporation, working with wagering and cable systems. Prior to that, he was a senior professional with the Boston Consulting Group. Lorne is a member of the board of overseers of Columbia Business School where he is also chairman of the advisory board of the Entrepreneurship Center.


·     Shmuel Weiss, 53, is the Chief Operating Officer of Playtech Limited with overall responsibility for the company's global operations and software development.  Shmuel joined the Playtech group in 2006 and was CEO of Videobet, the group's successful server-based gaming machine division and became COO at the end of 2008.  Prior to his involvement with Playtech, Shmuel held a number of senior management positions as CEO or COO at Israel based businesses in the internet and leisure sectors.




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