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IGT, Cyberview in merger talks

IGT, Cyberview in merger talks

Officials of leading slot manufacturer International Game Technology and Las Vegas-based Cyberview Technology, Inc. said last month they are in preliminary discussions that could result in IGT’s acquisition of Cyberview.

It is the latest effort by IGT to shore up its technological prowess in the area of server-based gaming. Cyberview was the first company to achieve certification by Gaming Laboratories International for a Class III server-based gaming system. The company operates a server-based network in Great Britain that controls and monitors thousands of fixed-odds betting terminals.

The merger talks follow an announcement in February by IGT and rival slot-maker WMS Gaming that they are jointly working on an open-architecture network that will accept game content from any manufacturer. WMS, which has introduced several slot products with server-based elements, purchased technology from Cyberview a few years ago.

IGT and Cyberview officials are discussing terms that would value Cyberview’s outstanding equity securities at up to $70 million. Discussions are reportedly in early stages, and officials say terms of a potential transaction may be materially different than those under discussion.

IGT and Cyberview executives said they will not comment further until an agreement is reached or the discussions are terminated.

The acquisition effort is part of IGT’s strategy to maintain and reclaim market share as the world’s leading slot manufacturer. The company last month announced it will invest more than $1 billion over the next five years on research and development. In a conference call with shareholders, chief executive TJ Matthews said that R&D budget will give IGT a “permanent competitive advantage.”

“There is nobody that is even close to that level of spending,” Matthews said. “We will be the innovator of the industry, able to dictate its direction in terms of how technology is deployed, how operations are improved.”