Churchill Downs, which bought Big Fish in 2014, agreed to sell the game company to Aristocrat Leisure.
Seattle casual-gaming company Big Fish Games is being sold by one large gaming company to another.
Churchill Downs has agreed to a $990 million deal to sell the company to Aristocrat Technologies, a subsidiary of Australian corporation Aristocrat Leisure. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close early next year.
There are no plans for Big Fish to move from Seattle or for layoffs, an Aristocrat spokeswoman said. Big Fish Games did not immediately return requests for comment.
“This acquisition is about growth,” the Aristocrat spokeswoman said. Big Fish will operate largely independently and will report to Aristocrat’s chief strategy officer.
Big Fish, which has a prominent office on Seattle’s waterfront near the Interbay neighborhood, was one of the region’s largest independent gaming companies when Churchill Downs bought it for $885 million in 2014. It has about 700 employees, mostly in Seattle.
Aristocrat operates web games and sells casino gaming equipment. It recently made another inroad in Washington state by partnering with the Tulalip Tribes to enter the tribal lottery system, which allows Aristocrat to sell gaming equipment in the state.
Churchill Downs, which owns the famed horse-racing facility and operates gaming businesses, said selling Big Fish will allow it to focus on the Kentucky Derby and its casino pursuits. A news release said Churchill Downs would use proceeds from the transaction for purposes that may include organic growth and acquisitions, debt reduction and share repurchases.
Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said when the company purchased Big Fish in 2014 that the acquisition gave the company new products, customers, locations and growth opportunities.