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Shanghai Giant Consortium to Acquire Playtika From Caesars $CZR for $4.4B

Shanghai Giant Consortium to Acquire Playtika From Caesars $CZR for $4.4B

Shanghai Giant Network Technology Co. Ltd. (SHE: 2558), one of China’s largest online gaming companies, agreed to acquire the Israeli Playtika gaming subsidiary of Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc. (CIE), a unit of Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR), for $4.4 billion in cash. 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. Caesars Entertainment started soliciting bids for Playtika in May. In early July, Netmarble, a mobile game unit of South Korean conglomerate CJ Group, submitted a competing bid for Playtika for up to $4.3 billlion. “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.” 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 Giant’s founder and chairman Shi Yuzhu. “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. Shanghai Giant Network Technology 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 is “the world’s largest Social Casino gaming company delivering premium games to millions of players daily,” according to research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC (Eilers Research). Robert Antokol co-founded Playtika Ltd. together with Uri Shahak in 2010, and in short order the business has become the world’s largest social, and mobile games company focused on the casino genre. Playtika integrated three acquisitions including Buffalo Studios, Electronic Arts’ Montreal poker studio and Pacific Interactive. CIE fully acquired Playtika in December 2011, reportedly for $100 million. The division reportedly generated $766.5 million in revenue in 2015, and $218.2 million in the first quarter of 2016, with a 28.8% year-over-year growth. The Playtika studios are “hives of creativity, with the independence and flexibility to innovate along with the shared resources and gaming knowledge to produce best-sellers time and time again,” the company says. 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. Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc. (CIE) is one of the largest online, mobile and social gaming companies and is focused on casino entertainment and is a subsidiary of Caesars Growth Partners LLC (CGP), which is a joint venture between Caesars Acquisition Company (NASDAQ: CACQ) and Caesars Entertainment Corp. CIE was formed by Caesars Entertainment in May 2009. 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. CACQ is a holding entity which was formed to make an equity investment in CGP, a joint venture between CACQ and Caesars Entertainment. CACQ is the managing member and sole holder of all of CGP’s outstanding voting units. CACQ is a subsidiary of Hamlet Holdings LLC, an entity controlled by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and TPG Capital. Caesars Entertainment Corp. provides casino-entertainment and hospitality services in the United States and internationally. It operates in three segments: Caesars Entertainment Resort Properties, Caesars Growth Partners Casino Properties and Developments, and Caesars Interactive Entertainment. The company owns, operates, and manages casinos; and operates Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center and The LINQ Hotel & Casino for casino guests visiting for gaming and other casino entertainment options, and non-casino guests visiting for other purposes. It operates 14,000 slot machines and 1,200 table games, as well as other games comprising keno, poker, and race and sports books; and buffets, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and lounges located throughout the company’s casinos, as well as banquets and room service. As of December 31, 2015, the company owned and operated 12 casinos. It also manages 28 casino properties owned by Caesars Entertainment Operating Company Inc.; and 10 casinos owned by unrelated third parties. Caesars Entertainment also owns the London Clubs International family of casinos. The company also engages in third-party leasing arrangements at its casino properties; provides various retail and entertainment offerings in its casinos, as well as The LINQ promenade, an open-air dining, entertainment, and retail development; and operates The High Roller, a 550-foot observation wheel. The company was formerly known as Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. and changed its name to Caesars Entertainment Corp. in November 2010. Caesars Entertainment Corp. was founded in 1937 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 15, 2015. playtika_profile Photo: Robert Antokol, CEO and Co-Founder of Playtika, with Mitch Garber, CEO of Caesars Interactive Entertainment.]]>