A consortium (the “Consortium”) including an affiliate of Shanghai Giant Network Technology Co., Ltd. (parent company ticker symbol: SZ:002558) (“Giant”), one of China’s largest online games companies, announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement with Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc. (“CIE”) to acquire CIE’s social and mobile games business (“Playtika”) in an all-cash deal for $4.4 billion.
The Consortium includes Giant Investment (HK) Limited; Yunfeng Capital, a private equity firm founded by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma; China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd.; China Minsheng Trust Co., Ltd.; CDH China HF Holdings Company Limited; and Hony Capital Fund.
Following the transaction Playtika will continue to run independently with its headquarters remaining in Herzliya, Israel and its existing management team continuing to run day-to-day operations.
“This transaction is a testament to Playtika’s unique culture and the innovative spirit of our employees who for the past six years have consistently designed, produced and operated some of the most compelling, immersive and creative social games in the world,” said Robert Antokol, Co-Founder and CEO of Playtika. “We are incredibly excited by the commercial opportunities the Consortium will make available to us, particularly in its ability to provide us access to large and rapidly growing emerging markets. This is an amazing milestone for all Playtikans and we truly value how unique this opportunity is to continue executing our vision with such a strong partner.”
Playtika, headquartered in Israel with additional studios and offices in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Japan, Romania, Ukraine and the United States, is a leading global social and mobile free-to-play games company. Through its core technology and expertise in big data, analytics, and M&A, Playtika has successfully developed a scalable platform that is primed for future international expansion.
“Playtika’s growth has been exceptional, and highlights its outstanding team, excellent corporate culture, cutting-edge big data analytics, and its unique ability to transform and grow games,” said a representative of the Consortium, Giant’s founder and Chairman Shi Yuzhu. “We are looking forward to Playtika continuing to innovate and excel.”
“It has been a particularly rewarding experience growing Playtika from a 10-person start-up, when CIE acquired them in 2011, into a global leader,” said Caesars Interactive Entertainment Chairman and CEO, Mitch Garber. “Playtika today is a highly profitable growth company with more than 1,300 employees, multiple top grossing titles and millions of daily users. Robert is a true visionary and Israeli business leader who has created not only a great business, but also the most unique corporate culture I have seen in my career.”
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, and is expected to close in the third or fourth calendar quarter of 2016.
CIE’s World Series of Poker and real-money online gaming businesses will not be included in the transaction, and the virtual currency used on the Playtika platform will continue not to be exchangeable for real money.
Raine Group LLC served as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisor to CIE.
CODE Advisors LLC served as financial advisor and Fenwick & West LLP served as legal advisor to Giant.
ABOUT SHANGHAI GIANT NETWORK TECHNOLOGY – (GIANT)
Shanghai Giant Network Technology Co., Ltd., led by founder and Chairman Shi Yuzhu, is a leading online games developer and operator, headquartered in Shanghai, China. Its ZT Online series is among the most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) in China. Giant counts nearly 50 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) and several top-grossing mobile titles across its broader portfolio of games. After completing the second largest private equity-backed take-private of a U.S.-listed Chinese company, Giant returned to the Shenzen stock exchange via reverse merger with Chongqing New Century Cruise Co. in April 2016, and is currently valued at upwards of $12 billion.
Playtika, led by its Co-Founder and CEO, Robert Antokol, pioneered free-to-play games on social networks and mobile platforms. It is the creator of such popular titles as Slotomania, House of Fun and Bingo Blitz, which consistently rank among the top-grossing games on Apple’s App Store, Google Play and Facebook. Playtika’s games are played daily by more than 6 million people in 190 countries, in 12 languages and on more than 10 platforms. Playtika was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Herzliya, Israel with offices in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Japan, Romania, Ukraine and the United States.
ABOUT CAESARS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT (CIE)
Through its Playtika subsidiary, CIE is one of the world’s leading interactive social and mobile games providers. In addition to its social and mobile games businesses, CIE owns the World Series of Poker (“WSOP”) and operates real-money online gaming in Nevada under the WSOP.com brand and in New Jersey under the CaesarsCasino.com, HarrahsCasino.com and WSOP.com brands. CIE is a subsidiary of Caesars Growth Partners, LLC, which is a joint venture between Caesars Acquisition Company and Caesars Entertainment Corporation. For more information, please visit www.caesarsinteractive.com.