Astra Games Ltd, part of Austrian gaming group Novomatic, has announced that it is in discussions to acquire certain parts of rival firm Danoptra, including Gamestec, the largest gaming machine operator in the UK pub sector. The talks include the acquisition of Bell Fruit Games, Gamestec, Mazooma Interactive Games and RLMS from Danoptra, which if successful would allow Astra to create a leading presence in the UK gaming machines market. The parties hope that an exchange of contracts will take place in mid March with completion of the acquisition scheduled for the end of April, subject to regulatory approval.The talks, which do not include the Danoptra companies OBL or Leisure Connection, would be subject to approval by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT. Pending completion Astra and Danoptra Gaming Group shall continue to operate as fully independent companies in the market. Gameste recently signed a new two-year supply agreement with a Punch Taverns, the tenanted and leased pub operator. Last year, it also agreed supply deal with Hydes and Young’s. Julian Nicholls, chairman of Danoptra, said: “Having worked together with Astra for some years on digital gaming machines operating alongside our successful analogue games, it is apparent that the strengths of Danoptra can be enhanced through access to the resources, market knowledge and experience of Astra and its position within the Novomatic Group. “Danoptra companies will be ideally positioned to respond to the exciting opportunities presented by changing marketplace. In short, the combination of the market strengths and skills of a combined Astra and Danoptra represent a step change in capability that represents a clear ‘win-win’ for the companies, their employees and their customers.” Zane Mersich, managing director of Astra, said: “Astra’s position as Novomatic’s excellence centre in the UK has a strong focus on the continuing evolution of digital based gaming entertainment products and services which will be strengthened by adding further analogue capability. “I am able to confirm that if the acquisition proceeds, both Astra and the relevant Danoptra companies will continue to develop, manufacture and of course support a full range of analogue products in the future. The analogue AWP is a core component of the UK gaming entertainment industry and it is a significant part of the history of Astra itself and also of Bell Fruit Games. So, to sum up, if our present discussions are successful it will ensure that some of the best known and much loved brands of the UK gaming entertainment industry will flourish and the coming together of these iconic companies will provide market leadership in both analogue and digital gaming together with enhanced service and support to their customers.”