Gamestec, the largest gaming machine operator in the UK pub sector, has been sold to the Austrian owner of rival Astra Games after gaining clearance from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The acquisition of Gamstec and sister companies Bell-Fruit Games, RLMS Sales and Mazooma Interactive Games has created an enlarged Astra UK Gaming Group within Austrian parent Novomatic. The new UK group has a turnover of £79.68m, EBITDA of £15.73m and employs 1,042 people. Under the deal, Gamestec, Bell-Fruit Games, RLMS Sales and Mazooma Interactive - which were all part of the Danoptra group - will retain their individual identities and staff and operate as “business as normal”, Astra said. Astra UK Gaming Group will be managed by a five-man board of directors, with Zane Mersich, managing director of Astra Games since 2008, becoming the group’s chief executive. Other board members will be John Austin (managing director, Bell-Fruit Games), Chris Butler (managing director of Gamestec), Neil Paramore (chief financial officer) and Paul Terroni, who moves from Danoptra to become business development Director in the new entity. Dr. Franz Wohlfahrt, chief executive of Novomatic, said: “Following the take-over of Astra Games in 2004 and Empire Games in 2011, this major acquisition in the UK brings to our group a true domestic market in the gaming industry’s home country. “We are convinced that the synergies generated through the cooperation of the various companies will not only secure jobs but will also provide important impetus for our global growth as a group as well as for our business strategy that is traditionally based on the duality of business activities as a producer and as an operator.”