Mobile gaming company Playtika eyes $1 billion US IPO

Playtika,the mobile gaming company controlled by Chinese investors, is reportedly considering a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) in the US, which would value the firm at $10 billion according to Reuters.

Playtika has hired Morgan Stanley and other banks to underwrite the IPO and is aiming to go public later this year or early in 2021, the sources said, cautioning that the timing, valuation and deal size are subject to market conditions.

Playtika founders Elad Kushnir (left) and Robert Antokol

Known for its casino-themed games and which also operates apps for poker and solitaire, Playtika could be valued at around $10 billion in the IPO, the sources added. They requested anonymity, citing confidentiality. Playtika and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Founded in 2010 by Israelis Robert Antokol and Uri Shahak, Playtika was sold to Caesars Interactive Entertainment of the United States a year later but remained headquartered in Israel. In 2016, a group of Chinese investors including Giant Network Group and Yunfeng Capital, a private equity firm founded by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, bought Playtika from Caesars for $4.4 billion. According to its website, Playtika has 27 million monthly active users.

The proposal comes at a time when tensions between the White House and Beijing are again running high, and after the Luckin Coffee fiasco. Luckin, the Starbucks of China, was recently delisted from the Nasdaq after it was discovered the company falsified revenue. While there’s an element of geopolitics at play, Playtika’s IPO could ultimately prove well-timed, because investors are increasingly enthusiastic about online and mobile gaming and the asset-light business models offered by companies in the space.