Light & Wonder targets $1.4bn annual EBITDA by 2025 following Q1 2022 revenue growth

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Light & Wonder told investors today (17 May) that it expects to generate adjusted EBITDA of $1.4bn in 2025, after generating $572m in revenue from continuing operations in Q1 2022, up 26.3% year-on-year.

Total adjusted EBITDA for the quarter came to $322m across the business, up 19.3%, with $202m from continuing operations, amid an increase of 42.3%.

Revenue including discontinued operations totalled $860m during the quarter, up 18.0%, and the business declared overall net income for the period of $28m despite its continuing operations registering a $67m net loss.

Following the $5.6bn sale of its lottery business to private equity, Light & Wonder now has its sights set firmly on the future.

Its strategic plan over the coming years includes the continued reduction of outstanding debt, which it has already been able to reduce from $8.9bn to $4.0bn, bolstered by the sale proceeds from its former lottery and sports betting divisions

“We kicked off 2022 with a number of significant achievements and strong momentum across our businesses with strong revenue growth of 26% in the quarter,” said Barry Cottle, president and CEO of Light & Wonder.

“The sale of our lottery business was another significant milestone as we de-lever and maximise cash, which transformed our balance sheet reducing our net debt leverage ratio from a peak of 10.5x just over 15 months ago to an adjusted net debt leverage ratio of 3.7x, or by approximately seven turns. 

“We are delivering on our promises to create great content cross-platform while expanding in high-growth digital markets and enabling a seamless player experience. With a reconstituted balance sheet, sustainable double-digit growth and strong cash generation, we now have the ability to significantly enhance shareholder value through a disciplined approach to capital allocation.”

Light & Wonder CEO Barry Cottle: “The sale of our lottery business was another significant milestone as we de-lever and maximise cash, which transformed our balance sheet and reduced our net debt leverage ratio.”

The firm aims to continue reducing its net debt leverage ratio in the coming years, with a target between 2.5x and 3.5x cited for 2025.

The business also aims to generate significant cash flow, with a target of $10bn in available capital by 2025 to be deployed through its capital allocation priorities.

Light & Wonder CFO Connie James added: “We are at an inflection point in our journey. We’ve moved rapidly to transform our company and our balance sheet, significantly de-levering and positioning us to win. 

“Our new path forward will lead to significant capital creation and with our balanced and opportunistic approach, we will continue to prioritise debt paydown, and return capital to shareholders through share repurchases and disciplined investments in our largest growth opportunities to unlock tremendous shareholder value.”

The update follows on from an announcement on 10 May that Light & Wonder had acquired open game development platform and content provider Playzido in an undisclosed deal.

Light & Wonder said Playzido’s proprietary remote gaming server platform is one of the best in the industry for rapid custom game development, and will accelerate the pace at which the business can partner with game studios and operators to co-create new and exclusive content for players.

Launched in 2018 by former Paddy Power and Betfair executive Stuart Banks, Playzido “is primed to scale further in [European] markets and to break into North American markets,” according to Light & Wonder.

“The Playzido deal is a perfect example of an acquisition that dovetails with our global strategy, demonstrating yet again our commitment to make targeted value-enhancing investments designed to advance our cross-platform content capabilities,” said Light & Wonder CEO of iGaming Dylan Slaney.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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