NEW YORK, June 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Z Capital Partners, L.L.C., the private equity arm of Z Capital Group, L.L.C. («ZCG»), a leading privately-held asset manager, today announced the merger of its affiliated portfolio companies, Affinity Gaming («Affinity»), a diversified national casino gaming operator, and Sports Information Group, LLC («SIG»), a New York-based B2B and B2C global omnichannel sports, technology, digital, media and wagering business. The transaction will close in the coming weeks and the terms were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, Affinity is a casino gaming operator that owns and operates eight renowned regional casino properties throughout Nevada, Iowa and Missouri. In Nevada, Affinity has active sports betting and online casino licenses with additional active sports betting licenses in Iowa. Pending legislative approval, Affinity has the potential to add additional sports betting and online casino licenses in Iowa and Missouri.
With an online and mobile presence in nearly 40 states, SIG is a global, multi-media information company dedicated to providing premium data-driven content and in-depth digital coverage to horse racing enthusiasts. SIG’s flagship brand, Daily Racing Form («DRF»), has been the dominant source of information in the horse racing industry since 1894 and is considered the go-to resource for the thoroughbred racing industry. A «one-stop-shop» for horseracing, DRF’s website is the most heavily-trafficked horseracing destination, providing players with the most extensive information in horse racing, interactive past performances, exclusive handicapping tools, and access to DRF Bets™, one of America’s fastest growing online and mobile wagering platforms. SIG also offers sports data and digital analytics through its brand DRF Sports.
The merger of Affinity’s leading regional casinos in Nevada, Missouri and Iowa, and SIG’s advanced technology, digital and media platforms and online betting presence, will position Affinity Interactive as a leader in today’s gaming industry with a world class digital offering with significant growth opportunities.
The merger will include an expanded suite of casino and online gaming offerings, including social gaming, mobile gaming, iGaming and sports betting. The combined company will reach nearly one million customers across the U.S. alone and leverage the iconic DRF brand as it capitalizes on the continued momentum in sports betting and iGaming globally. Mary Beth Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Affinity Gaming, and Itay Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of SIG, will continue to lead their respective business units.
«This merger has been contemplated for quite some time, and with the expansion of online gaming in the U.S. and abroad, we look forward to bringing together these two highly complementary businesses and leveraging their combined strengths to create a significant gaming, digital and media platform with even greater growth opportunities globally as Affinity Interactive,» said James Zenni, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of ZCG and Chairman of Affinity Interactive. «Affinity’s acclaimed casino properties, coupled with SIG’s world-class technology and proprietary sports data and intelligence, will create a leading gaming platform available to nearly one million customers worldwide. We see significant growth in the sports and online betting industry, and we are confident that together these companies will be even better positioned to capitalize on the many opportunities ahead as Affinity Interactive.»
«This is an exciting day for our digital, data and betting customers as the combined company will offer an unparalleled online and in-person gaming experience to our ever-growing customer base,» said Mr. Fisher. «This merger enables Affinity to leverage SIG’s leading technology and digital presence and accelerates its expansion into sports and iGaming. We are grateful to have ZCG’s continued vision, support, and operational expertise as we enter into this new chapter.»
«For more than 125 years, DRF has been at the forefront of the gaming industry, and today’s announcement of combining our offerings with Affinity’s casino properties and sports betting licenses, is yet another milestone in SIG’s iconic legacy,» said Ms. Higgins. «This transaction will position us to continue our growth, and we look forward to working with Itay and the SIG team to further deliver the best sports betting offerings for the benefit of our combined customers.»
Sidley Austin LLP served as legal advisor to Affinity, and Massumi + Consoli LLP served as legal advisor to SIG.
ZCG is a leading New York City based, privately held, global investment firm with approximately $4.0 billion of assets under management across complementary private equity and credit businesses. ZCG and its Principals have industry leading track records in private equity and credit for over twenty-five years. ZCG’s investors are some of the largest and most sophisticated global institutional investors including pension funds, endowments, foundations, sovereign wealth funds, central banks, and insurance companies. For more information please visit www.zcg.com.
About Affinity Gaming
Affinity Gaming is wholly owned by ZCG affiliates and is a diversified casino gaming company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Company’s casino operations consist of eight regional casinos, five of which are located in Nevada, two in Missouri, and one in Iowa. The company has a total of 230,000 square footage of casino floor, more than 3,000 slot machines, 30 table games, 1,375 hotel rooms, 25 F&B outlets and a renowned entertainment venue. For more information about Affinity Gaming, please visit its website: www.affinitygaming.com
Affinity Gaming’s parent, Affinity Gaming Holdings, also recently sponsored Gaming & Hospitality Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: «GHAC», «GHACU» and «GHACW») («GHAC»), a blank check company formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses. GHAC’s initial public offering was $200 million. While GHAC may pursue acquisition opportunities in any industry or sector, it intends to primarily focus on the identification of an acquisition target within online gaming, sports betting, regional gaming, distributed gaming and gaming technology and equipment. For more information, please visit its website www.gamingandhospitality.net.
About Sports Information Group
Sports Information Group, LLC is wholly owned by ZCG affiliates and is a New York based global omnichannel, gaming, technology, media and digital information company dedicated to providing premium data driven content and in-depth information to the horse racing industry. The Company’s flagship brand, Daily Racing Form is «America’s Turf Authority since 1894» for horse racing enthusiasts, breeding and sporting and professionals throughout North America. Launched in 1894, Daily Racing Form is the only data provider in the U.S. dedicated solely to the coverage of a single sport. Its companion website, www.DRF.com is the most heavily-trafficked horseracing destination, providing players with the most extensive data coverage in horse racing, interactive past performances, proprietary handicapping tools, and access to DRF Bets™, one of America’s fastest growing online and mobile wagering platform. Additionally, Daily Racing Form provides DRF Harness Eye, the data provider for standardbred racing since 1964, offering news, handicapping products, and online wagering functionality specifically for harness players. In 2012, Daily Racing Form introduced DRF Breeding, a business dedicated to serving the breeding industry, bringing expanded information and tools to horseplayer and breeding enthusiasts alike. DRF also offers DRF Sports, a sports statistics and content offering to sports betting enthusiasts. DRF Sports will be relaunching with new and expanded features prior to the 2021 NFL schedule. For more information, please visit www.DRF.com www.DRFbets.com and www.sports.drf.com
Forward Looking Statements
Portions of this press release may constitute forward-looking statements and assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the «PSLRA»), Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including with respect to the GHAC’s plans with respect to the target industry for a potential business combination. No assurance can be given that the GHAC will ultimately complete a business combination transaction. In addition, any such forward-looking statements are made within the «safe-harbor» protections of the PSLRA, should not be relied upon as representing Z Capital’s, Affinity’s, SIG’s, or GHAC’s views as of any subsequent date, and Z Capital, Affinity, SIG, and GHAC are under no obligation to, and expressly disclaim any responsibility to, update or alter these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Such forward-looking statements are based on information available to Z Capital, Affinity, SIG, and GHAC as of the date of this report and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, some beyond their control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks include uncertainty surrounding certain events, including the following: (1) Affinity and/or SIG may be adversely affected by economic, business, and/or competitive factors; (2) the ability to recognize benefits of the transaction; (3) risks that the transaction disrupts current plans and operations and the potential difficulties in employee retention as a result of the transaction; and (4) whether GHAC will ultimately complete a business combination transaction.
Security holders of Affinity or GHAC and other readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on any forward looking statements, which reflect ZCG’s, Affinity’s, SIG’s, and GHAC’s current beliefs and are based on information available to them as of the date a forward-looking statement is made.
Jonathan Keehner / Kate Thompson / Tanner Kaufman
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
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SOURCE Z Capital Credit Partners, L.L.C.