Earlier this year there were rumors floating around that Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc. (CIE), a joint venture between Caesars Entertainment Corp and Caesars Acquisition Company (CAC) was going to be sold. The alleged sale would include Caesars social gaming company Playtika and also the popular World Series of Poker (WSOP) festival.
CAC recently announced that it had made an agreement with a Chinese Consortium to sell Playtika for $4.4 billion. The company confirmed that the sale price was only for Playtika and did not include the WSOP. The Chinese Consortium comprises of a number of companies including Giant Investment (HK) Limited, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Giant Network Technology Co., Ltd which is one of the biggest online gaming companies in China; private equity firm Yunfeng Capital which belongs to Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd; CDH China HF Holdings Company Limited; China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd.; Hony Capital Fund and China Minsheng Trust Co.
Robert Antokol, Playtika’s current CEO platform co-founded the platform in 2010 and attributes the platform’s growth and success to the hard work and dedication of Playtika’s employees. The platform offers virtual currency and hosts a number of popular free gaming including Bingo Blitz and Slotomania. Caesars has confirmed that even after the sale, Playtika will continue to follow its old policy of not permitting virtual currency to be sold.
In a statement, Antokol said “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.”
Caesars purchased Playtika in May 2011 when the company had just 10 employees and paid somewhere around $90 million for the acquisition. Since then under Caesars, the company has grown to 1,300 employees, has a number of top grossing games and millions of users who log onto the platform on a daily basis.
The deal is subjected to the usual regulatory procedures and other approvals and will most likely be completed at the end of the third quarter or early into the fourth quarter of 2016. Caesars Entertainment is currently battling creditors over its bankruptcy filing and could owe around $5.1 million. As of now it remains unclear whether the Playtika sale for $4.4 billion will help or hinder Caesar’s dispute with its creditors. Caesars has also not confirmed if it plans to sell the WSOP in the near future.